Jordan Spieth ‘May Be the Best Putter Ever,’ says Ian Poulter

Jordan Spieth celebrates after sinking his final putt to win a three-hole playoff in the fourth round of the 2015 Valspar Championship

Jordan Spieth celebrates after sinking his final putt to win a three-hole playoff in the fourth round of the 2015 Valspar Championship

Ian Poulter, not particularly well known for doling out praise, has given Jordan Spieth the highest of compliments, saying the 22-year-old “may be the best putter ever.”

The 39-year-old Englishman told Reuters that Spieth’s putting is the reason this year’s Masters and U.S. Open champ is finding himself in contention every week.

“Statistically he’s the best putter in the game and he may go down as he best anyone has ever seen,” Poulter said. “If you look at the percentage of putts he holes from 25 feet it’s remarkable. That’s generally the distance you hit it to when you are playing well. It’s an amazing percentage of putts that he holes and we all want that sort of putting stroke.”

Spieth holds a number of first-place rankings among his peers when it comes to putting. He leads the Tour in putting average (1.693 putts per hole), putts per round (27.88) and—the stat Poulter is so impressed by—putts from 25 feet (he makes 28.85 percent of them).

They say it takes one to know one. Poulter himself has an impressive resume when it comes to putting; he is 15th on Tour in strokes gained putting and 16th in overall putting average, with his big wins coming in at putts from seven feet (third) and putts from 10-15 feet (sixth). More than once he made heroic saves for the European team at the ‘Miracle of Medinah,’ where the Europeans came from four points back overnight to win the 2012 Ryder Cup 14.5-13.5.

Perhaps crowning Spieth the best of all-time is premature (the kid just turned 22 July 27), but he’s well deserving of the praise.

Golf: 2012 Ryder Cup Ian Poulter makes final putt to win on 18th Fourballs Medinah Country Club/Medinah, IL 9/29/2012 X155533 TK5 Credit: Fred Vuich

Golf: 2012 Ryder Cup
Ian Poulter makes final putt to win on 18th Fourballs- Medinah Country Club/Medinah, IL
9/29/2012        Credit: Fred Vuich

courtesy of Marika Washchyshyn (golf.com)

The World’s First Crowdsourced Putter Design

The World’s First Crowdsourced Putter Design

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The Goal: To create the world’s first crowdsourced putter design on MyGolfSpy.

We’re talking about a putter designed not by a major manufacturer, not some famous putter designer either. Instead we’re talking about a putter designed by you and produced for golfers. That was the idea I had a few years ago. Because of some legal foolisheness, it took longer for this idea to come to life, but now it finally has.

It used to be that consumers were more-or-less powerless. We had to take what products were offered to us; like when your mother used to say you’ll eat it and you’ll like it. Not here guys. MGS wants to empower and inspire you to design a product you can be proud to say you were a part of creating.

It’s Called #MyEdel

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In the coming weeks you are going to help design the next Edel putter – the first of its kind. The team at Edel Golf features some of the most innovative club designers in the business. They make some incredibly beautiful equipment. In my opinion it’s the most beautiful equipment in golf.

We are calling this crowdsourced design project the #MyEdel putter.

Each week you will cast your vote to help decide what head and hosel you like best, what inserts you prefer, and which custom finish combinations will ultimately be used. And really, these are just a sampling of the variables that will be settled by you as we create this limited edition MyGolfSpy putter. We will keep you updated on the progress of the putters through MyGolfSpy.com and our social media to give a you little behind the scenes look at how it all comes together.

Once your winning design is revealed, one lucky golfer will win the putter that tops the votes! Edel Golf will award the MyGolfSpy #MyEdel Putter to one lucky follower of Edel’s Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook pages; so your best chance to win is to vote and like and follow all 3. These limited edition putters will be offered in limited quantities after the voting is all done and the putter is revealed.

The workbench of David Edel has provided some of the coolest limited edition putters and wedges, and now, MyGolfSpy & Edel Golf wants to let you decide what they create next.

P.S. – The voting for the first design element begins very soon. In the mean time, be sure to follow Edel Golf on Social Media.

Follow Edel Golf:

Instagram: edel_golf
Facebook: Edel Golf
Twitter: @Edelgolf

#MyEdel

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Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

The Club Report: Buzelli STA-1 Putter

The Club Report: Buzelli STA-1 Putter

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By Dave Wolfe

A little while back, we took a look at the brand new putter company Buzelli Golf. In case you missed it, we let Ryan Buzelli introduce us to his fledgling putter company, telling us all about his motivation for starting the company and about his putter making dreams. If you missed it, you can read all about it right here.

While we learned a bunch about Ryan Buzelli and Buzelli Golf in that article, one thing was noticeably absent, information about Buzelli golf’s putter. We learned about the man, but not much about his creation. Today we take care of that omission.

Win a Buzelli Golf STA-1 Putter. Details at the End of the Post

The Buzelli Golf STA-1

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There she is in all of her ebony majesty. The STA-1 is the first putter model produced by Buzelli Golf. Now before the just another Anser crowd gets unruly, Ryan Buzelli knew full well that he was making a version of the Anser. Shockingly, he did this on purpose. He wanted something familiar, given that potential customers would not be familiar with the Buzelli Golf name (yet).

I think that this is a solid tactic. The Anser is a familiar shape, and as so it should be seen as a less risky purchase. If the first Buzelli putter was metal madness, it would be all to easy to dismiss it. The large manufacturers sell Anser variants buy the ton, thus giving them the fiscal freedom for more experimental designs like the Futura or Sabertooth. Those shapes would be a huge risk for a one-man-in-his-garage shop.

Those shapes would be a huge risk for a one-man-in-his-garage shop.

The STA-1 is an Anser-style putter, but why would one ever make the same putter that you can already buy? Though Ryan wanted to play it safe with the STA-1, he also wanted to make his putter an interpretation of the Anser, rather than just a pure copy. Here is what he says separates his STA-1 from the others.

What Makes the STA-1 Different from a Typical Anser?

  • Hosel shortened for more connection with your eye to your hands
  • Sole widened for more stability
  • Heel to toe lengthened for more balance
  • Center of gravity enlarged for more consistency
  • New micro deep milled face for feel
  • Biased bottom shelf for added control

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There is a whole bunch of Anser DNA in this putter, but the differences are noticeable. The tweaks in length and width definitely stand out, while some of the other alterations are more subtle. Let’s take a look at the specs of the STA-1 and then dive a bit deeper.

Specifications: Buzelli STA-1

Material: CNC Milled Carbon Steel Head weight: 355g
Loft: 3°
Lie: 70°
Toe Hang: 4:00
Length: 32.5-37 inches
Dexterity: Right (Left coming in 2015)
Offset: Full-shaft
Grip: Buzelli branded Pure Grip
Shaft: True Temper Stepped – Chrome
Price: $269.95

Impressions: Looks

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At first glance, we are looking at a very traditional Anser-style putter. Ryan went with a classic design with his first putter, but there are some Buzelli modifications there.

I found the visual effect of the wider sole to be the most appealing. It’s not as wide as an Odyssey #1 Wide or a Cameron Squareback, but it is wider than the typical Anser. That lengthening of the head from heel to toe keeps the putter from looking snub-nosed like the #1 Wide or the Squareback. I find it very visually pleasing at address.

The black finish on the carbon steel head is uniformly applied, and very dark. The white sight line really stands out against this black background. The face milling is deep, and sharp, and the milled lines on the bumpers add a nice touch of cosmetics.

Feel

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This is one soft feeling putter. I knew it was going to be carbon-steel soft when I rolled it, but I was still surprised a bit at just how soft it was. Perhaps I’ve spent too much time with stainless lately…

Even with the softness, it puts a firm roll on the ball. I chalk this up to the aggressive face milling. Those grooves are deep. There’s no lack of texture on this face. I would love to see how the ball reacts at impact with a super slow-motion camera. You can just feel the face grabbing the surface of the ball and rolling it along. On a wet morning session, the milling also was adept at grabbing all nature of green debris. It’s that deep and sharp.

The putter does feel a bit head heavy, as one might expect with a 355g head on a (as requested) 34.5” putter. It’s not a true hinderance of feel, but to make the STA-1 my gamer, I would probably pull the standard Pure grip and put on something just a touch heavier and/or larger.

Alignment

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Nothing fancy here. The single sight line complements the squared geometries of the STA-1 head. Perhaps Ryan can add different alignment options, such as top line dots, multiple lines, or no line at all, to future versions. It would look amazing without that line.

Though subtle, you can see in the photo above that the milling on the bumpers also helps to visually square the face at address.

Performance

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The true test of performance for the Buzelli Golf STA-1 will come in the 2015 Most Wanted Blade Putter competition, but I’ll share with you some of my performance impressions.

The review putter was built to my specs (34.5”, 2° flat) and immediately felt at home in my hands. The putter swings with a very balanced cadence. At no point did I feel the need to manipulate my swing to compensate for imbalances in the head. It opens and closes just like you would expect it too.

Even with the sight line, not my usual preference, I found the STA-1 very easy to aim, with misses being primarily due to distance. Distance control should improve with familiarity and is likely because the head does feel a touch heavier to me.

Fit-For-Stroke

The Buzelli STA-1 putter fits a Slight Arc Stroke

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Final Thoughts: Buzelli Putters

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Ryan has a long road ahead of him if he is going to be able to quit his day job and make putters. I say this not because of the quality of his putter, but because of the competitive nature of the marketplace. If it was just about the putter, I’d say that Ryan would easily be able to use Buzelli Golf to pay his mortgage. It’s a great putter, especially when you consider that it is his first.

$269.95 for a milled carbon putter is not outrageous based upon competitor pricing, but it does put Buzelli Golf into the ring with the big operators. It’s tough for the small guy to carve out market space against such milled  behemoths as Cameron, Bettinardi, and Odyssey. Ryan Buzelli has a great attitude and a pretty fine first putter. Perhaps those are the only weapons that he needs.

It has been a very slow process. Baby steps essentially. I am just a normal guy, living the ultimate dream. A hands-on, trial and error type of person. A no name just trying to outshine these major manufacturers. It will take some time, but I am certain, Buzelli Golf will prevail.
Ryan Buzelli

Win a Buzelli Golf STA-1

All you need to do to win your very own Buzelli Golf STA-1 is to leave a comment below telling us what you are currently gaming and how you would spec your STA-1 should you win. The winner will be selected at random in about two weeks. Good Luck!

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Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

The Perfect Putter – Putt Like You Train

The Perfect Putter – Putt Like You Train

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Win a Perfect Putter

You can win your very own Perfect Putter. Check the end of the article for details.

Effective Practice = Improved Performance

By Dave Wolfe
I guess that’s my spin on the old practice makes perfect adage. With golf, just practicing is not enough. We all know that it is totally possible to practice your swing without any resulting perfection. Blasting through a large bucket with a lousy swing is not somehow going to produce a good swing. Good, effective practice produces positive results.

Applying repeated sky marks to the driver does not.

Few of us practice putting as much as we should, and when we do practice, we may not actually be helping our game. Think about this scenario. You are on the practice green with a couple of balls. You drop the balls at your feet, read the putt, putt the first ball, and miss it left. Now knowing that it breaks left, you adjust your aim, and still miss left with the second, but by less this time. You adjust again and sink the third ball, feeling proud and confident in your improved putting ability.

Truth is, you seldom get two, let alone three, shots at a putt when you are playing a round. You read it wrong the first time, and you missed. You actually couldn’t get the break right until you rolled two balls. You made the third, but did your ability to see the break and read the putt actually improve with that practice session?

Learn To Read: It’s Fundamental

The first thing to do if you are really having trouble reading putts is to get help from an instructor. I am a firm believer in the AimPoint green reading system. I’ve taken a few classes, and I believe that the system just plain works. Don’t just take my word about AimPoint though, ask Adam Scott, Isaac Sanchez, or Stacy Lewis. Here is a photo I took at this year’s Fry’s Open showing Hunter Mahan and his caddy John Wood getting some green reading instruction from AimPoint instructor Peter Brown.

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Though I believe that my reads have improved because of AimPoint, practicing reads is still a bit challenging. When practicing, I don’t always know if I am making the correct read, and then executing the putt with a correct stroke.

Sure, the obvious feedback is that the ball goes in, but the ball also has a chance to go in if you make a bad read and then compensate with a bad stroke. I made the putt, but I didn’t really improve my reading, or my putting. The tight integration of reading and putting makes it difficult to practice either effectively.

What I really needed was a way to separate practicing my reads from practicing my putting mechanics?

The Perfect Putter “Putts” Perfectly

Perfect Putter-18

So how can you truly know if you made the correct read and the correct putt? One way that you can check your read is by rolling balls at your target with your hand. If you have ever tried this, you know that it is very challenging to have one roll match the next. How will you know if your proposed read of six inches left is accurate if you are spraying balls all over the place? You need to know that the roll is accurate to assess your read.

That’s where the Perfect Putter comes in to the conversation. On the most basic level, the Perfect Putter is a metal ramp that rolls golf balls. It’s not challenging to use. You place the Perfect Putter on the green, place a ball on the ramp, and then let the ball go.

No moving parts, other than your ball, I suppose. If you want the ball to roll farther, place it higher on the ramp. You can figure out how to make the ball roll shorter. The ramp is even calibrated so you can ensure that you place the ball exactly where you want, time after time.

The Perfect Putter performs a very simple, yet potentially powerful job. It rolls the ball straight. Every time, exactly the same. Unlike the practicing golfer, there is no way that the roll of the ball from the Perfect Putter can be influenced by how the ball impacts the club. The Perfect Putter can’t slightly change its swing arc, or ball position. It can’t unknowingly cut across the ball at impact, imparting spin on the ball.

The Perfect Putter consistently rolls the ball perfectly.

Perfect Putter-06

 

How will this help me putt better?

Improve Your Reads

Let’s say that you have taken a class covering the AimPoint Express Read methods. You now know where you should be aiming based upon your read. Normally, to practice this read, you put a tee in the green at your target spot and start hitting balls with your putter. What you are actually testing are two variables, your swing and your read.

The Perfect Putter takes your swing out of the equation. You can now aim the Perfect Putter at the target from your read, place a ball on the ramp at the appropriate distance calibration, and roll the ball. If it goes in, you know your read was correct. If it was incorrect, you know right away if you under or over read the break.

If you practice this way, you will effectively be able to assess and likely improve your reads. Yes, you do still need to practice, but your practice will be far more productive.

Perfect Putter-17

Improve Your Putting

Let’s change gears and look at the other side of the putting story, actually putting the ball. Once you dial in the read with the Perfect Putter, you can now practice the putt, knowing with confidence that you are aimed at the right target. If you are missing the cup, you now know that it is because of your stroke, and not your read. This too should focus your practice, and yield improved results. Identifying the problem is a critical step toward fixing the problem.

Let me give you an example. In my garage, I have a 10-foot practice green. I recently had to move it around and when I got it back into place, I was sure that it wasn’t level. I checked it with a bubble level, and it looked OK, but balls I putted were just not rolling straight.

When the Perfect Putter showed up at my house, the first green I used it on was my practice green. Low and behold, it rolled straight. Long story short, I realized that I had picked up a bit of a cut across the ball when putting, adding spin at impact that looked like break when it rolled. The Perfect Putter helped me to realize this, and fix this previously unknown flaw. I blamed the green, but it was me, and I never would have known without the Perfect Putter.

 

About the Perfect Putter

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The Perfect Putter is a simple tool, but there is a whole bunch of engineering and precision in its construction. First, it is durable, made of non-corrosive 316 stainless steel. The steel sides of the Perfect Putter are bolted together at numerous positions, ensuring that the tracks that the ball rolls upon are straight, and parallel to each other. This thing is built to last.

The tracks can either be used in their bare metal form, or sheathed with the recommended silicone rail covers. It will work with or without the covers. You will just need to compensate for speed a bit if you go cover-free as the calibration is set for with-cover operation.

Speaking of calibration, the Perfect Putter also functions as a stimp meter. Now you can really know what your green speed is at your home course. This should help your reads as well.

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The Perfect Putter – Premium Pack includes some useful upgrades for your Perfect Putter. First, it comes with the Perfect Putter. Additionally, you get a ramp extender for practicing long range putts, or practicing on really slow greens. You also get their set of stainless steel putting gates. These four gates vary in size from the widest Beginner gate to the nearly-ball wide Perfect gate. These gates alone are great practice tools. You also get a carrying case that everything fits into. I also fit an elevated string line into the case, which pairs nicely with the workings of Perfect Putter.

Perfect Putter-01

 

Who Would Benefit From The Perfect Putter?

My impulse answer to that question is everyone who putts would benefit from using the Perfect Putter. How can you not benefit from practicing with such a tool? Maybe you don’t use AimPoint to read greens. You still, hopefully, use some system to read greens. The Perfect Putter lets you know right away if your reads are correct, or if you should be looking into different reading strategies.

I think that the Perfect Putter should be a part of the arsenal at every teaching facility. Every facility should have one, if not every instructor. Instructors can use it to show their students exactly where to aim, and then also more effectively diagnose swing issues when the student misses the putt. Speaking from my experience using the Perfect Putter, knowing that the read is absolutely correct allows the golfer to really focus on improving putting mechanics.

On a synergistic side note, when I was on the practice range at the Fry’s Open, I saw one of the people working with a tour pro with a Perfect Putter case slung over his arm. As it turns out, there are quite a few players on the tours using the perfect putter as part of their practice program. There are a whole bunch of professional testimonials on the Perfect Putter site, but this is one of my favorites:

The Perfect Putter is a fantastic product. It takes reading greens to a complete different level. In fact, if you are trying to read a green without it is as if you were handcuffed. It is a superb, a must have device that should have been around when I was playing for a living.

Martin Hall, Host of the TV show ¨School of Golf” on the Golf Channel. 2008 PGA National Teacher of the Year

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The Only Flaw With The Perfect Putter

There is only one thing preventing The Perfect Putter from being something that I would recommend that every golfer should buy, and that’s the price. Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe that using the Perfect Putter while practicing putting will allow all golfers to improve their putting. However, the Perfect Putter’s premium materials and construction carry a premium price tag.

The Perfect Putter Standard Pack costs $239, with the tested Premium Pack costing $299. I think that the Premium Pack is the way to go, as you get the putting gates, the case, and a stand that helps stabilize the unit. Regardless, this is an expensive tool.

In no way am I saying that the Perfect Putter is overpriced. I’m just saying that it’s expensive. Though I am not privy to their manufacturing costs, the stainless steel construction, along with the multiple machined bolts, and precision construction likely does not come cheap.

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$239 for the Perfect Putter is probably a fair price, but it is still a lot of money for most people to spend on a putting aide. Will it help your putting? I feel confident that it will, but it’s probably out of most golfers’ golf budget.

I’d like to drive a Mercedes, but my job says that I should drive a Honda.

That’s what I would really love to see, the Honda version of the Perfect Putter. Perhaps there’s was way to keep the manufacturing tolerances, but to build it from a plastic polymer rather than steel, thus dropping the unit cost down to the $50-ish range. It may not be possible, but if there was a less expensive version, it would almost be a mandatory purchase for the golfer looking to improve his or her putting.

However, let’s address the price from a different direction for a moment. How many golfers will buy a new putter when they are looking to improve on the course? How much do they spend on that putter? Golfsmith currently has 118 putters in the $100-$250 range, and another 34 putters above $250. Keep your old putter, spend that money on a Perfect Putter, and perhaps a lesson or two.

 

The Perfect Putter

Perfect Putter-07

If the price is not an issue for you, I would recommend that you seriously consider adding the Perfect Putter to your training tool contingent. If you are an instructor, or in charge of instruction at your facility, you should probably order one today.

The ability to see exactly how the ball will roll on the green is extremely valuable. You don’t need to trust your read when you practice, you can see if you read the putt right or wrong immediately, and definitively. If you practice your reads with the Perfect Putter, your reads will improve. Plus, if you know the read is correct, but you didn’t make the putt, you can be confident that the issue lies with your putting stroke.

The Perfect Putter’s premium construction does carry a premium price tag, but the premium construction also means that you will not likely need to replace the unit any time soon. As long as it’s not abused, the Perfect Putter should last a long time.

For more information, check out the photos, testamonials, and videos at their website: www.theperfectputter.com

 

Win a Perfect Putter

You can win your very own Perfect Putter. Just leave a comment below talking about your system for reading greens and how you would incorporate the Perfect Putter into your practice sessions. The winner will be chosen at random and notified on 11/28/14. Good Luck!

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

The Hardest Putter Quiz Ever

The Hardest Putter Quiz Ever

Post image for The Hardest Putter Quiz Ever

Winning any Golf’s Most Wanted Competition isn’t easy. It’s not easy for the manufacturers, so why should it be easy for you?  We’re celebrating the upcoming results of our 2014 Most Wanted Blade Putter Test with nothing less than the #HardestPutterQuizEver.

You think you know putters?

We’re betting one of the entries in our 2014 Most Wanted Blade Putter Test that you’re wrong. You don’t stand a chance.

But hey, feel free to try to prove us wrong. To win all you need to do is correctly identify all 30 putters in the image below. The first person who can actually identify all 30 putters will win on of the putters from the list (prize selected at our discretion).

How To Enter

  • Leave a comment attempting to identify all 30 putters (labeled by number)

You get two shots at it, but otherwise that’s really it.

For those of you who don’t win (and that’s probably all of you), or in the event there is no winner, we’re going to randomly select 1 contest participant to receive a MyGolfSpy Prize Package. The Consolation Prize winner will be selected at random from all entrants.

Bonus Entry

Help us spread the word about #HardestPutterQuizEver and get yourself a bonus entry for our consolation drawing.

Simply retweet (Pro Tip: Use the double-arrow button in the embeded tweet below) the following and you’ll receive a bonus entry in our consolation drawing:

 

The Rules

  • To win you must be the first to correctly identify the brand and model of each of the 30 putters.
  • Limit 2 Entries total. Use them now or use them later. Just be sure to use them wisely because you only get 2.
  • Consolation Prize winner selected at random from all valid entries.
  • Open to all residents of planet earth, but as always, VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.
  • Contest Ends Monday June 9th at 10:00AM Eastern Time or the second someone correctly identifies all 30 putters.

The Putters (click on the image to enlarge)

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The Cheat Sheet

We know this isn’t easy, which is why we’re going to help you out. At least 3 times a day between now and Monday (when the contest ends) we’ll reveal another putter on the list. Timing (or incredibly vast putter knowledge) will be key if you’re serious about winning.

Remember, you only get 2 chances to win.

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7. Bettinardi Signature 7
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Coming Soon

Check back Monday when we reveal all of the competitors in our 2014 Most Wanted Blade Test.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Community Review – TaylorMade Spider SI Putter

Community Review – TaylorMade Spider SI Putter

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Written By: Will Dron

At MyGolfSpy we’re known for our data-driven Most Wanted club reviews. We are, afterall, #Datacratic. What you may not know is that our Community Members are also given the opportunity to test new equipment as well. When a good opportunity crosses our desks, we select 3 or more MyGolfSpy forum members in good standing to take part in our community review process.

Each golfer who is selected is asked to write a complete review of the product being tested. Those individual reviews are posted in the forum with each tester and author making himself available to answer any questions from our other forum members.

Our member reviews from MarcKilgore, Jmikecpa, The Artful Duffer, and Jaxbeachpackerfan have already been shared and can be found by clicking on each’s member to name to read their individual reviews. For my part, I tested the TaylorMade Spider Si along with our tester group and will include some research I’ve done on the club, comparisons to my current putter (original Ping Nome), and the findings from our member tester group.

We’ve taken all of feedback from our testers on the 38″ TaylorMade Spider Si Counterbalanced Putter and consolidated it here in this community review.

If you’d like the opportunity to take part in a future community review, Join the MyGolfSpy forum, contribute, and see for yourself why it’s different here.

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A look at forgiveness

One of the things I set out to find out was what do the MOI values TaylorMade espouses mean. For reference, TaylorMade boasts the Spider Si has a MOI of 6000+ and the Daddy Long Legs a MOI of 8500+. So I went to Google and look it up and found a couple of interesting articles:

Moment of Inertia: What is It?
Moment of Inertia (MOI)

“Moment of inertia or in our case more correctly referred to as rotational inertia is simply an object’s (clubhead) resistance to turning or rotating when acted on by some outside force (ball).” – Ralph Maltby

I’ll only briefly mention the mathematical aspects in this paragraph since I can already imagine many of you just not giving a damn.

The formula for MOI is mass times distance from the center of gravity squared. There, done with the math part.

One thing mentioned in the one-putts article that has been echoed by TaylorMade in the past is that almost no one can tell the difference of a difference in 1000 MOI. So while mathematically speaking, there is some difference between the Spider Si (MOI 6000+) and the Daddy Long Legs (MOI 8500+) and likewise between a blade style putter and the Spider Si, in practice the gap between the numbers isn’t nearly as drastic as it might seem. They do offer a point of reference, which can be helpful for giving the golfer a better sense of how much MOI he prefers in a putter.

That said, our testers (and I agree with them) found the forgiveness of the Spider Si to be fantastic. Compared to the Ping Nome, there was little difference, but that is a plus for the Spider Si, since I found the original Nome to be incredibly forgiving.

One difference between the two putters, however, is that the Nome has a very distinctive clink sound when struck off the center of the face, whereas the Spider Si more-or-less feels the same unless you miss significantly away from the center of the face.

TaylorMade_SpiderSi_Head_and_Cover3

Choking down a really long grip

The Spider Si has a head weight of 380g. Most putters on the market today have head weights of 330-370g. This is where the long grip and counter balancing comes in. The 125g grip they use has most of its mass in the back of the club to help mitigate the swingweight of such a heavy head.

…which led to my next question, what is the swingweight of this putter?

Luckily, I have a scale for such questions. Unluckily, the swingweight of this putter is literally off the scale. The thing is, using this scale is something most five year olds would be capable of, so I know I didn’t screw it up, but to double check I took out my Ping Nome and it measured to around E6. This is reasonably top heavy, but at least it was on the scale. Now, the real issue is you need to choke down on the Spider Si, so getting a functional swingweight is near impossible with the simple equipment I have since it really needs to be measured at the spot of your hands.

TaylorMade_SpiderSi_Grip_Scale

Even without a tool to measure swingweight though, a simple waggle test will tell you the swingweight of this putter is significantly higher than most traditional putters. For comparison, after adjusting to the Spider Si, the Nome with its E6 swingweight felt very light. This exaggerated swingweight makes the counterbalanced club just feel incredibly stable.

A great deal is said about confidence while putting. Counterbalancing can give you the confidence that you won’t hit a push or pull as often.

One important thing we found about counterbalanced putters is there is an adjustment period, due in part to the drastic difference in swingweight. Many of our testers, who spent over 4 weeks with the putter, echoed this in their reviews. For me personally, I was ready to toss out the putter after the first few rounds. I was putting poorly and looked at every part of this putter as a reason why I was putting so badly. I even went back to the Nome and, oddly enough, continued to putt badly. I did work my way through it though and in the last weeks of the review process, had some of the best putting rounds of my life. While there is an adjustment period, it can be worth the effort.

TaylorMade_SpiderSi_Shaft

On a more negative side of counterbalanced putters, our tester group also found one very important problem: the grip will occasionally catch bellies and jackets. Since the putter is choked down, a portion of the grip sticks out past your hands. I’m a pretty skinny guy, but whenever I wore a jacket I had to be especially conscious of this overhang. We tested the 38″ model, so it’s likely the issue would be mitigated simply by selecting the 35″ model.

“This review showed how important it is to get properly fitted for a putter. I am 5’ 10”, cursed with short legs, long torso, and a growing waistline. The 38” length was 1” too long for me to use without having to stand more upright, suck in my gut, or step back a few inches from the ball, which made it very difficult to properly align longer putts.” – MarcKilgore, MGS Community Member

The other aspect of choking down on a putter that I noticed was until you found the right spot on the grip, consistency suffered. This is why I think I struggled the first two weeks with this putter, until I had a set spot on the grip (using the Spider icon as a guide), I was always in a slightly different setup. However, once I was able to adjust and consciously remember to grip it in the same place each time, my putting improved dramatically. A future improvement manufacturers could make is to add horizontal stripes on the grip to help make it easier to find your ideal grip spot every time.

TaylorMade_SpiderSi_ChokeDown

PureRoll Insert

The final bit of technology I looked into was the PureRoll insert. TaylorMade has put all their eggs in the basket when it comes to this insert. Unfortunately, much of the manufacturing process is kept as TaylorMade’s secret sauce, but what I can tell you is the inserts are made using a customized machine that can create grooves the size of a fraction of a hair’s width and there are many of these micro grooves in the insert.

From a testing perspective, the face of the putter is primarily affects how the putter feels, but if you buy into TaylorMade’s story, then it also affects how well the ball rolls, which we tested as a measurement of accuracy. Both will be addressed in the next two sections.

“Clean and crisp. It’s definitely and eye catching design and the colors fit together nicely … There’s a muted little click and away goes the ball. I wish the feel was just a fraction harder for a little more feedback as I wonder if some of my distance control issues on the long putts could be to to everything feeling so solid.” – The Artful Duffer, MGS Community Member

There is, however, one complaint several of us had of the insert, and that’s sand can get stuck inside the grooves. Personally, I found this to be almost a non-issue, but if you don’t carry a brush to clean your irons, you may want to do so.

TaylorMade_SpiderSi_Head2

Performance Notes

The three main areas our testers were asked to focus on were accuracy, distance control, and forgiveness. Each was evaluated separately for putts greater than 20 feet, between 5 and 20 feet, and less than 5 feet.

Three of our testers rated accuracy from all distances as very good to excellent and the final tester rated it as fair. Personally, I felt like the ball was on a rail after being hit. One tester said it was comparable to the Odyssey 2 ball. I would rate it marginally better than the Ping Nome, but by no means a clear-cut winner.

“I tend to try and hit shorter putts from six feet and in firmly and at the back of the cup Philly Mick style (and yes I have four jacked a few holes from inside of 6 feet). The same characteristics that made this putter maddening on mid range putts made it a superstar from shorter ranges. The ball holds its line well and I seemed to make anything I looked at from short range.” – Jmikecpa, MGS Community Member

Distance control was a bit different. I was with most of the testers. We really struggled with distance control for a while and this was the biggest area that required adjustment, which makes sense since the putter feels so different from most putters out there. After the adjustment period, several of us rated distance control as excellent. One tester rated distance control as excellent right off the bat and another tester said he was still working on it by the end of the 4 week review cycle.

TaylorMade_SpiderSi_Head_Ball

Finally, forgiveness rating from every tester was consistently excellent. Off center hits more or less went the same distance as center hits. Ralph Maltby mentioned in his testing that even plus one cappers use a 5/16” to 3/8” circular area of the clubface, so no complaints here.

TaylorMade_SpiderSi_Grass

Subjective Notes

In this section, testers looked at the looks, sound and feel, and likelihood of purchase of the Spider Si.

Two of our testers loved the looks of the putter and three of them, including myself, felt it was good, but nothing outstanding. One major complaint we found though is it is painfully obvious when the paint chips. This is true of nearly any of TaylorMade’s white putters. My son uses the Spider Blade, and typical of a 10 year old, it looks very much like it was tossed out of a car and then chewed on by a rabid animal.

If  the durability of the finish is a major concern for you, we might have a deal-breaker where the Spider Si is concerned.

I was honestly shocked by how much our tester group liked the sound and feel of the putter. For me it was actually a significant adjustment as the Spider Si is much more muted than I was used to. I’m not one to really care about sound and feel, but it was a noticeable change. Our tester group all rated sound and feel as excellent though: different, but very good.

“The alignment lines are almost exactly ball width extending back an inch and a half from the putter face.  But then, there are also the wings, and the slight flange at the end of the wings, which end with a gap between the two wings also almost exactly a ball width apart.  Visually, this creates an alignment channel extending 3+ inches behind the putterface, but without any mass for the last portion of the channel.  This provides additional alignment aid to me without the clunky look or feel it would have if it were solid the entire distance.” – Jaxbeachpackerfan, MGS Community Member

The grip received high marks as well as soft and comfortable to use, with the exception of being too long for at least one of our testers, and with another tester still deciding whether it was too long for him or not.

Likelihood of purchase received much harsher scores from our tester group though, but that’s mainly because they’re a bunch of cheapskates several of them like buying models one seasoned removed. While the scores were low, several of them said the numbers were still fairly high compared to other recently released putters. Only one tester said he would not buy this putter, but again that was largely due to the 38″ test length being too long for his frame. Personally, if I were looking to buy a putter the Spider Si would be at the top of my list of putters to check out.

TaylorMade_SpiderSi_BallScoop

Conclusion

I’m assuming several of you really did not read everything above this section, so I’ll repeat myself a bit. The real takeaway from our review is many of us felt counterbalancing works, but takes time to adjust. Likewise for TaylorMade’s PureRoll insert. The high MOI of the Spider Si gives more than enough forgiveness and it feels incredibly stable through the putt. It wasn’t for everyone, but a lot of this had to do with the fit of the club. TaylorMade recommends people who putt 34” clubs can use either the 35” or 38” models, but it was the guys who used 34” putters previously that had the most complaints with the 38” model we received. Fitting, as always, is very important and it should be added that it is very easy to custom order any putter to your preferred length.

I should also mention the putter has a scoop! Mallet users on the practice green know how nice it is to not bend down every other minute like a Hooter’s waitress to pick up a ball. My back is OK with me spending time on the practice putting once again.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

PING Ketsch – Designing and Manufacturing 2014?s Most Wanted Mallet Putter

PING Ketsch – Designing and Manufacturing 2014?s Most Wanted Mallet Putter

Post image for PING Ketsch – Designing and Manufacturing 2014′s Most Wanted Mallet Putter

(by Dave Wolfe and Tim Halberg)

Based upon your comments, I would say that many of you really enjoyed reading about our visit to PING HQ. If you missed those articles, you can find Part 1, HERE, and Part 2, HERE.

It was fun for me to take you all along as we toured the expansive aspects of the PING facility. You may find this hard to believe, but I actually skipped over part of our visit.

That’s right, there was more!

I wanted to hold a little something back for later. You know, like that last piece of pie that you stashed behind the pickle jar. Mmmm pie.

What is it that I kept from you? What piece of PING equipment deserves that hidden-pie treatment? Of course it’s the 2014 Most Wanted Mallet, the PING Ketsch.

 

Un-Ketsch-able

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Un-Ketsch-able. That’s what the PING Ketsch was in the mallet competition. It just pulled away from the competition. It seemed like our testers just couldn’t miss from the 5-foot mark. OK, they did miss two out of fifty putts. For those of you who have been out of school for a while, that comes out to 96%, earning the Ketsch a best-in-class A.

What I have for you today is a little more information about the design of the Ketsch, and also some great shots of how the Ketsch is made, courtesy of Golfspy Tim.

 

S-Ketsching the Design

Engineering and design seems the natural place to start a Ketsch discussion, as that is how PING develops all of its new products. The Ketsch was no exception. PING engineers did not set out to build this putter, but rather studied the science of putting, adding to their knowledge environment, then subsequently creating the Ketsch from their findings.

The foundation for the Ketsch really came from two separate studies; one about face impact patterns, and a second about alignment.

 

Face Impact Studies

grooves

PING engineers began their research process by exploring the putter face impact pattern in relation to player handicap. As I mentioned in the visit article, one of the cool things about working at PING is that you can choose to be a club tester a couple of times a week. For the engineers, this represents a whole bunch of data to work with.

Anyway, the study in many ways was similar to how impact position on a driver face impacts ball speed off the tee. This time though, it was ball speed off the putter face.

It is from this data that the PING engineers developed their TR groove system.

The TR grooves normalize ball speed across the face of the putter by reducing center-strike ball speed, and increasing ball speed on off-center hits. PING is not the first company to pursue this design idea, but I believe that others have used inserts rather than grooves to achieve the result.

A PING engineer explained to us that the TR grooves make the putter perform like it has a higher MOI, though this is more apparent in the Anser-like heads as opposed to the already-high-MOI mallets.

Basically, this allowed PING engineers to change the inertia of the head without changing the shape of the head. This is key, as many of those head shapes have proven to be quite successful (re. PING gold putter room).

 

Alignment Study

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Next, PING engineers returned to their tester pool, this time exploring the effect of different putter design elements on accuracy.

Their hope, in studying the head shape, lines, dots, and so on, was not just to develop one putter, but rather to generate knowledge that could be used in the development of all future putters. It’s knowledge first, then products at PING.

PING engineers determined three components that improved putter alignment/accuracy.

  1. A line going from the back to the front of the putter.
  2. A curve from the back to the front of the putter.
  3. Ball-width visuals (lines) on the top.

 

If you take the knowledge that led them to the TR Grooves, and combine it with the knowledge from the alignment study, you can see where the Ketsch design came from. Other PING putters created from this knowledge base include the PING Nome TR (tied for 2nd Most Wanted) and the Scottsdale TR Anser T (currently competing in the Most Wanted Blade competition). So far, the PING engineers are 2 for 3 with this product pool in our putter competitions. I too am curious how the Anser T will score.

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That gives you some insight into why the PING Ketsch was made. Let’s no take a little look at how the Ketsch is made.

Ketsching Fire

Back in Part 1 of our visit article, I mentioned how the shafts are glued into the Ketsch heads and then bent to meet the fit-for-stroke requirements. I bet that many of you assumed that like most of the other PING clubs, the Ketsch heads were manufactured elsewhere and then precisely assembled at PING. That may be the case with most of the other clubs, but not so with the Ketsch.

This is what the Ketsch looks like when it hits PING.

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What you have there, fearless reader, is a block of aluminum. It is from this billet, that the Ketsch is carved. Think of how a statue comes from a block of marble. The statue hides inside the marble block, the artist need only find it.

With the Ketsch, the engineers have developed the sculpture, and the milling machine was tasked to find it. Here is the progression from block to putter:

First, the top of the putter is milled.

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Next the bottom is milled.

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Note the difference between the sole plates on the standard and counterbalanced models. That knob is where the extra weight comes from.

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Finally, the Ketsch is ready for cosmetics and shafting.

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Milling Madness Bonus Round: The PING Tour Wedge

Tim and I also were able to watch Gorge grooves being milled into the faces of PING’s Tour wedges.

The wedges hit the shop groove-less, looking like this.

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Next, wedges are loaded three at a time into the milling machine.

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The Gorge™ grooves are then cut.

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The grooves are constantly checked for spec, making sure that they conform to USGA standards.

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After all is said and done, the PING Tour wedges and the Ketsch putters. Head out to the customers, and a whole bunch of metal scrap heads to the recyclers.

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Playing Ketsch

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After all the design work and manufacturing precision that went into the development of the PING Ketsch, it’s little wonder that it already has multiple wins on multiple tours this season, and more importantly, it won MyGolfSpy’s 2014 Most Wanted Mallet competition by a mile.

I know that we will see more gold-plated Ketsch putters in the PING vault in coming months, as well as in lots of recreational golfer’s bags. Maybe even yours…

Win A Custom PING Ketsch

How would you like to own your very own Most Wanted mallet? The PING Ketsch can be yours just by leaving a comment about the Ketsch in the comments below. In about a week, we will pick a random winner, get your custom specs, and then PING will send a new custom Ketsch your way. It’s just that simple. Good Luck and I’ll Ketsch you later.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Fact or Fiction? Looks Impact How Your Putter Performs

Fact or Fiction? Looks Impact How Your Putter Performs

Post image for Fact or Fiction? Looks Impact How Your Putter Performs

By Dave Wolfe

There is nothing in machinery, there is nothing in embankments and railways and iron bridges and engineering devices to oblige them to be ugly. Ugliness is the measure of imperfection. – H. G. Wells

Some of you are not going to like what I tell you today. You are going to dismiss what I have written. You will immediately jump to the comment section to let me know how much of an idiot I am.

I understand that impulse.

I really do.

No so long ago, I would have been shoulder to shoulder with you, torches held aloft as we stormed the castle in fury.

All I ask today is that you postpone your judgement until you have read the whole story and looked at the data.

What is this taboo topic? What subject am I psychologically easing you into? It’s not a complex statement, but it will be controversial. The topic for today is:

Aesthetic opinions do not affect putter accuracy

Yes, that’s right. I am saying that an individual’s views on a putter’s looks will not affect the putting accuracy of the person with that putter. One of the aspects of our Golf’s Most Wanted putter tests that some people have a hard time accepting is that aesthetic like or dislike does not influence accuracy.

In other words, you can make lots of putts with an ugly putter.

Some of you will tell me about the confidence you gain when you look affectionately at your attractive putter, and that this confidence makes you a better putter because putting is all about confidence.

Mental state absolutely influences putting, and other parts of our golf games too, but the all about confidence argument is flawed, and wholly unsupported by data.

cum hoc ergo propter hoc

For those of you not up on your Latin, that phrase translates to “with this, therefore because of this“. In other words, if two things are happening together, then they must have some kind of cause and effect relationship. It’s bad logic. Correlation does not prove causation. Let’s say that you get up at dawn every morning. One could argue that the sun coming over the horizon wakes you up, but using the same flawed logic of correlation and causation, you could argue that through the act of waking up, you caused the sun to come over the horizon.

When a positive correlation exists between two things, it’s entirely possible, even probable, that they may not be linked together in any way whatsoever.

I know…you still think that looks and accuracy still go together though, and that there is in fact a positive correlation. Let’s look at the phrase Positive Correlation.

Positive Correlation
A positive correlation is a relationship between two variables such that their values increase or decrease together.
Basically, if aesthetics dictated performance, their lines on a graph would follow similar paths. Aesthetic scores would increase and decline alongside the corresponding performance values. To take you back to algebra class, the lines would have similar slopes.

Lets now look at the accuracy and aesthetic scores from the most recent Most Wanted Mallet Test. Putters have been arranged on the X-axis from most accurate (Ping Ketsch) to least accurate (Odyssey Metal X Milled #7).

accuracy-vs-looks-mallets-1

As you can see, positive correlation between accuracy and aesthetics simply does not exist. If we look at the blue aesthetic score line, the best fit line would be essentially flat, not at all matching the negative slope of the accuracy line.

There are some spots where accurate putters also scored aesthetically well, but we also see spots where you the data suggests an inverse correlation; aesthetic perception trends are actually the opposite of performance trends.

If how a tester perceives a putter dictates performance, then the Havok (rated most highly for aesthetics), would be toward the top of the pack, and the Metal X Milled #7 would never have finished last.

This is not the first time that we have recorded the lack of correlation. That actually occurred in last year’s Most Wanted Mallet test.

Case in point, I bring you the STX xForm3:

STX xForm3

The STX xForm3 placed second in the 2013 Most Wanted Mallet competition, again, with the scoring based solely on accuracy. What was it’s aesthetic ranking? Dead last. Keep in mind that the aesthetic scoring is done after the tester has putted with it. Who knows how low the aesthetic scoring would have been if we had collected the data before putting?

Even more shocking, with the xForm3 only about 30% of the testers said that they would take the putter out for a round of golf. Keep in mind that they all, on average, were extremely accurate with the xForm3. When I asked one of the testers who putted very well with it why he wouldn’t bag it, his reply was “I don’t like looking at it.”

Basically he would rather miss putts with a pretty putter than make putts with an ugly one.

I seated ugliness on my knee, and almost immediately grew tired of it. – Salvador Dali

We had the reverse case as well in that mallet test. Here is the Barber Pole Waterville:

Barber Pole Waterville

That putter ranked first in aesthetics. It deserved to. It’s a beautiful piece of metal. However, its accuracy score was second from the bottom. Also scoring aesthetically high in that test was the SeeMore SB2C, the last place finisher in accuracy.

Obviously liking the looks did not help the testers to be more accurate with these two. The super hot face of the Barber Pole and the likely unfamiliar alignment scheme of the SeeMore had something to do with it.

 

Aesthetics Do Influence Accuracy

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Being physically attracted to a given putter won’t improve accuracy, but if the visual elements assist with alignment, accuracy can be enhanced. That’s a totally different story, however. That’s a story driven by data, not opinion.

Just this past week, Golfspy Tim and I were fortunate enough to travel to Ping Headquarters where we got to spend some quality time with Ping’s engineering team. I will have more to share about our trip and the Knowledge Environment at Ping in upcoming articles, but one of the topics we discussed was putter alignment schemes.

The engineers at Ping tested a whole bunch of alignment schemes and determined which ones promoted accuracy. There are three Ping putters in the market based upon this research. Two of them, the Ketsch and the Nome TR placed first and second in the 2014 Most Wanted Mallet Test. The third putter is currently competing in the Most Wanted Blade test. I’m keeping that one anonymous until the testing is over, but I’m very curious to see how it will perform.

Visual components can affect how you aim a putter, but your opinion that a particular putter is ugly is not one of those components.

 

All I’m Saying Is Give Ugly A Chance

Cameron Futura X

Liking the  looks may help you decide to buy a putter, but that visual affinity won’t put the ball in the cup. If you can bring yourself to think about this objectively, you’ll concede that it’s true. We have all had owned putters that we absolutely love the looks…and we’ve putted like crap with them.

For me, it’s the Zing. I love the looks of that putter, bagging new versions whenever they’re released. I like looking at it when I stand over a putt in the shop or on the course. Only after I miss long and 30° to the left do I remember that I just don’t putt that well with a Zing.

You don’t need to agree with me. That’s your prerogative. However, I highly recommend you trying rolling some putts with the putters you find ugly…maybe even hideous. It’s quite possible that one of those ugly ones will be the best performing putter you have ever rolled. By immediately dismissing it based on how it looks, you missed your best chance to putt like a beast.

Putting well can quickly turn an ugly putter pretty, just like poor putting can reveal the ugly inside your beautiful putter.

Familiarity is a magician that is cruel to beauty but kind to ugliness. – Ouida

 

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

First Look: Mantis B Putter

First Look: Mantis B Putter

Post image for First Look: Mantis B Putter

More Green For The Green

By Dave Wolfe

I think that it’s safe to say that the Mantis Mallet was one of the more unique and interesting putters to hit the market in 2013. Love it or hate it, there was no way that a golfer could miss the Mantis Mallet’s bright green color and atypical shape.

I witnessed quite a few golfers pick up the Mantis Mallet for the first time last year. Many were a little skeptical about the looks, but warmed to the putter once they rolled some balls with it.

While placing 14th in the 2014 Golf’s Most Wanted Mallet competition was probably lower than the folks at Mantis would have liked, I think their finish was a solid one. 14th looks pretty good when you are a new, small putter shop going up against the older and much larger companies.

I spent more than a few enjoyable rounds with the Mantis Mallet in my bag last year (full review HERE), so it really comes as no surprise to me that the mallet was successful enough in the golf market last year to allow Mantis to release a new putter model for 2014, the Mantis B.

B is for Blade

Mantis B-05

C may be for “cookie” on Sesame Street, but at Mantis, B is for “blade”. Now don’t immediately rush to the comments section to tell me that the Mantis B is not a blade putter. The simple truth is that the days of the term “blade” being restricted to bulls-eyes and 8802s is long past. If Mantis wants to call this new putter the blade in their catalog, I’m OK with it. I don’t think that anyone can argue that the Mantis B is more blade-like than the Mantis Mallet.

Regardless, of the “B” designation, the name Mantis carries with it some expectations based upon its mallet sibling. Let’s take a quick look at the features common to the Mantis putters, while looking at what separates the Mantis B from its more bulbous brother.

Mantis B Features:

  • Material: 304 Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 355g
  • Toe Hang: 4:00 (though the Mantis Site says Face Balanced)
  • Length Tested: 34?
  • Finish: Matte Green
  • Insert: Polyurethane
  • Grip: Custom Winn

Feel

Mantis B-07

The Mantis B has the same polyurethane insert as the Mantis Mallet. This is a good thing. I think that the feel of the insert in the mallet was the first thing that won over those skeptical about the putter’s unusual appearance.

The insert in the Mantis B is soft, yet responsive. Missing from the Mantis B though is the mallet’s ringing tone that came with impact. The tone with the Mantis B is more of a click, maybe even more like a clack. It is a very firm tone with the soft insert. A bit contradictory, true, but overall I find the feel quite nice.

 

Looks

Mantis B-04

The looks of the Mantis Mallet were very love/hate for most people, and I expect the Mantis B to evoke the same feelings. The green color is definitely still here, providing a stealth profile against the putting surface and excellent contrast against the white alignment scheme.

I was am a big fan of the looks of the Mantis Mallet, but I am much more lukewarm on the looks of the Mantis B. There is quite a bit of Ping B60 in this heel-toe weighted blade. I know that the B60 shape is a favorite for many of you, and so you may see my looks rating as being a bit low. That’s the beauty of subjective opinions.

For my eye, I want my blades square at the back edge. It’s just my personal preference. I do, however, really like the square line of the face at address, as well as how the neck helps frame the ball by essentially disappearing into the green base.

LOOKS-ave-1

Alignment

Mantis B-15

The Mantis B has the same high-contrast alignment aid as the Mantis Mallet. The whole idea behind the alignment of the Mantis is to keep your eye one the ball. The color of the putter blends into the green so that all you really pay attention to is the white ball and the white alignment “T”.

While the putting surface is not quite Mantis green, blending in definitely happens. No, the Mantis does not vanish into the background like the Predator, but it blends in better than a traditional black or silver putter. As I mentioned in the Mantis Mallet review, I do think that Mantis does a better job at this compared to when Nike tried it with their IC putter line.

Overall, I think that Mantis’s alignment scheme works as intended, as the white alignment aid makes more of a visual impact at address compared to the body of the putter.

 

FIT FOR STROKE™

Mantis B-08

Don’t change your stroke. Change your putter.

The (FIT FOR STROKE™) concept was developed by PING, yet another genius fitting system they have developed for golfers. It works hand-in-hand with the iPING Putter App which is highly suggest everyone getting (IT’S FREE!). You might be surprised to find out that the stroke you think you have isn’t the stroke you actually have.

This addition to the MGS reviews will allow you to become a more consistent putter by matching you with models that better fit your stroke type. They will be broken down into three categories: (1) Straight – for face balance putters (2) Slight Arc – for mid toe hang putters (3) Strong Arc – for toe down putters

“Results from hundreds of player and robot tests at PING offer overwhelming scientific support for the effectiveness of fitting for stroke. In recent years more diagnostic tools and testing equipment have become available, and the results prove that a golfer’s consistency improves when their putter balance matches their stroke type. It was interesting to observe that golfers putt more consistently with stroke-appropriate models, but they also show a personal preference for these models, too. Prior to putting with them, golfers are drawn to models that fit their eye, even before they fit their stroke.” says PING.

The Mantis B: Slight Arc

Performance

Mantis B-06

How does the Mantis B perform? Does it crush all of the other 2014 blades? We will have the answers for you as soon as the 2014 MyGolfSpy Golf’s Most Wanted Blade putter competition is completed. The Mantis B is in the mix, along with thirty-one other putters! Stay tuned.

 

Welcome to the putter corral Mantis B

Mantis B-10

Congratulations to Mantis Golf for being able to bring another putter model to market. Many putter companies don’t survive that initial foray into the very competitive putter marketplace. With the Mantis B, Mantis has kept the features of the Mantis Mallet that separated it from its competition, while incorporating a new design that should appeal to those who like a smaller putter. We will have more about the performance of the Mantis B in our blade test, but feel free to grab one of these at your shop or a local demo day and give it a roll. I’m curious to hear what you think.

 

Mantis B-23
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Mantis B-03
Mantis B-02
Mantis B-01

For More Information visit the Mantis Website.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

2014 Most Wanted Mallet Putter: The Contenders

2014 Most Wanted Mallet Putter: The Contenders

Post image for 2014 Most Wanted Mallet Putter: The Contenders

(by Dave Wolfe)

Welcome to the 2014 Most Wanted Mallet Putter Testing! Today you will see the twenty-four contenders who will compete for the prestigious title of Most Wanted Mallet.

The mallet putter is one of the most diverse categories of golf equipment. This year’s batch of contestants reflects this diversity. There are multiple alignment schemes. Inserts of various compositions and morphologies. The finishes vary. The materials vary. The grips vary. Head geometries range from a simplistic half-mallet to one with a center shaft and aggressive perimeter wings.

The mallets are very different, but they all have a shot to be the Most Wanted Mallet.

At MyGolfSpy, our competitors stand on equal ground. We don’t care if the putter is from a large or small company, is forged or cast, has an insert or a milled face. The putter may be a one-off prototype, or a sample from a run of thousands. Name and history hold no value here, only performance.

Yes, each of the twenty-four has an equal chance to win the title, but ultimately only one will be crowned Golf’s Most Wanted!

Group Mallet Shot

 

:: The Head-to-Head Test

How does a mallet earn the title of Most Wanted? Is the scoring based upon looks? Do you get bonus points for desirability? Not at MyGolfSpy. If a putter wants this title, it needs to perform, and perform better than the other putters. It’s head-to-head, winner take all. You’ll see no participation trophies here.

One of these mallets that you see today will add its name to the Most Wanted roster, joining 2013′s Most Wanted Mallet, the Bettinardi Signature 6, and the 2013 Most Wanted Blade, the Nike Method Core MC01W. Two previous challenges means two previous winners, period.

One of these mallets will be more accurate than its peers, separating itself from the pack based upon data, not opinion. There is no I just like it better here. To win our title, the putter must perform, and, on average, perform in the hands of all the testers.

:: How We Tested

What do we really need a putter to do for us? As we demonstrated last year, a successful putter is one that gets the ball close to the hole, ideally, of course, going in the hole. Do you like that your putter has your initials on the toe? Sure you do. Does the fact that your putter came from a former mini-tour player make for a great story? Of course. Will either one of those features help the putter to be the Most Wanted Mallet? Not at all.

The Most Wanted Putter earns that title by being the most accurate in its class. Accuracy is the ultimate measuring stick. Accuracy data is not subjective.

:: Accuracy Scoring

Mallet accuracy was measured by having the testers roll five putts from three distances; five, ten, and twenty feet.  The distance from the closest edge of the cup was then recorded for each miss.  To normalize the results, all of our testers used the same ball, the 2014 Wilson Staff FG Tour.

Because we know that missing a five-footer by two feet is not the same as missing a twenty-footer by two feet, the values were adjusted for distance as follows:

:: 5-Foot Score = Miss Distance (inches) x 2.0

:: 10-Foot Score = Miss Distance (inches) x 1.5

:: 20-Foot Score = No Adjustment

Once the values were adjusted for distance, the numbers were added together to generate a putter’s Total Accuracy Score.

:: Example: Accuracy Scoring Protocol

PUTTER X Accuracy Scoring, Tester #1
:: 5-foot putts: (11″ miss distance  x adjustment of 2.0) = 22″ total miss distance?
:: 10-foot putts:
(16″ miss distance x adjustment of 1.5) = 24″ total miss distance?
:: 20-foot putts:
(120″ miss distance with no adjustment) = 120″ total miss distanceTotal Accuracy Score for Tester #1 with PUTTER X would be =  166″ inches (total miss distance)

scoring-graph-mwm-2014

The Contenders

The Most Wanted Mallet contestant field has grown from sixteen putters in our 2013 test to twenty-four putters for this year’s battle. We have some new small companies, Bellum Winmore, Mantis Golf, and Piretti Golf, going against the big names like Ping, Odyssey, and Bettinardi. One of the welcome surprises to the roster has to be the Cleveland Smart Square. Cleveland and MyGolfSpy were not on the same page when the Smart Square hit the market. Cleveland was not happy, but rather than avoiding the MyGolfSpy critique, they believed enough in their putter to put it up against this diverse field. Kudos to Cleveland Golf for their participation.

But Where Is ___________?

As always, if you are wondering where Company X is, rest assured that we made every attempt to invite them. Some of the companies couldn’t compete do to production issues, while others just simply declined. If you are not seeing your favorite brand, you’ve heard of Twitter. Give the company your 180 character best about why they should participate next time.

Without further ado. . .
I give you the 2014 Most Wanted Mallet Contestants!

Bellum Winmore Midi Mallet Prototype

Bellum Winmore Midi Mallet-1

Bellum Winmore Midi Mallet-4
Bellum Winmore Midi Mallet-5
Bellum Winmore Midi Mallet-3
Bellum Winmore Midi Mallet-2

Bettinardi BB32

Bettinardi BB32-1

Bettinardi BB32-2
Bettinardi BB32-3
Bettinardi BB32-4
Bettinardi BB32-5

Bettinardi BB32-CB

Bettinardi BB32-CB-1

Bettinardi BB32-CB-2
Bettinardi BB32-CB-3
Bettinardi BB32-CB-4
Bettinardi BB32-CB-5

Bettinardi BB55

Bettinardi BB55-3

Bettinardi BB55-4
Bettinardi BB55-5
Bettinardi BB55-2
Bettinardi BB55-1

Bettinardi BB55-CB

Bettinardi BB55-CB-1

Bettinardi BB55-CB-2
Bettinardi BB55-CB-4
Bettinardi BB55-CB-3
Bettinardi BB55-CB-5

Cleveland Smart Square

Cleveland Smart Square-1

Cleveland Smart Square-2
Cleveland Smart Square-3
Cleveland Smart Square-4
Cleveland Smart Square-5

Mantis Mallet

Mantis Mallet-1

Mantis Mallet-2
Mantis Mallet-3
Mantis Mallet-5
Mantis Mallet-4

Nike MOD-00

Nike MOD-00-1

Nike MOD-00-2
Nike MOD-00-4
Nike MOD-00-3
Nike MOD-00-5

Odyssey Metal X Milled #7

Odyssey Metal X Milled #7-1

Odyssey Metal X Milled #7-2
Odyssey Metal X Milled #7-3
Odyssey Metal X Milled #7-4
Odyssey Metal X Milled #7-5

Odyssey Tank 2-Ball

Odyssey Tank 2Ball-1

Odyssey Tank 2Ball-2
Odyssey Tank 2Ball-3
Odyssey Tank 2Ball-5
Odyssey Tank 2Ball-4

Odyssey Versa Jailbird

Odyssey Versa Jailbird-1

Odyssey Versa Jailbird-2
Odyssey Versa Jailbird-3
Odyssey Versa Jailbird-5
Odyssey Versa Jailbird-4

Odyssey White Hot Pro Havok

Odyssey WHP Havok-1

Odyssey WHP Havok-2
Odyssey WHP Havok-3
Odyssey WHP Havok-4
Odyssey WHP Havok-5

Ping Ketsch

Ping Ketsch-1

Ping Ketsch-2
Ping Ketsch-4
Ping Ketsch-3
Ping Ketsch-5

Ping Nome TR

Ping Nome TR-1

Ping Nome TR-2
Ping Nome TR-4
Ping Nome TR-3
Ping Nome TR-5

Ping Scottsdale TR Craz-E

Ping Craz-E TR-1

Ping Craz-E TR-2
Ping Craz-E TR-3
Ping Craz-E TR-4
Ping Craz-E TR-5

Ping Scottsdale TR Senita B

Ping Senita B-1

Ping Senita B-2
Ping Senita B-4
Ping Senita B-3
Ping Senita B-5

Piretti Bosa

Piretti Bosa-1

Piretti Bosa-5
Piretti Bosa-2
Piretti Bosa-3
Piretti Bosa-4

SeeMore PTM3

SeeMore PTM3-1

SeeMore PTM3-2
SeeMore PTM3-3
SeeMore PTM3-4
SeeMore PTM3-5

SeeMore X3

SeeMore X3-1

SeeMore X3-2
SeeMore X3-4
SeeMore X3-5
SeeMore X3-3

TaylorMade Daddy Long Legs

TaylorMade DDL-3

TaylorMade DDL-4
TaylorMade DDL-5
TaylorMade DDL-2
TaylorMade DDL-1

TaylorMade Spider Mallet

TaylorMade Spider Mallet-1

TaylorMade Spider Mallet-2
TaylorMade Spider Mallet-4
TaylorMade Spider Mallet-3
TaylorMade Spider Mallet-5

Tour Edge Exotics DG Tour Proto v3.2

Tour Edge Exotics DG3.2-1

Tour Edge Exotics DG3.2-5
Tour Edge Exotics DG3.2-2
Tour Edge Exotics DG3.2-3
Tour Edge Exotics DG3.2-4

Wilson Staff Vizor Level2 M3

Wilson Staff Vizor Level2 #3-1

Wilson Staff Vizor Level2 #3-2
Wilson Staff Vizor Level2 #3-3
Wilson Staff Vizor Level2 #3-5
Wilson Staff Vizor Level2 #3-4

Wilson Staff Vizor Level2 M4

Wilson Staff Vizor Level2 #4-1

Wilson Staff Vizor Level2 #4-2
Wilson Staff Vizor Level2 #4-3
Wilson Staff Vizor Level2 #4-4
Wilson Staff Vizor Level2 #4-5

 

The Balls have been Rolled, The Data Compiled

There are the twenty-four contenders. You’ve probably picked your favorites, and dismissed others. Be careful with your guesses though. Remember, to be the Most Wanted Mallet, you need to be more accurate than all of your peers, not just a better looking photo. Only the strongest performance snags the title.

Come back tomorrow and see which putter had the gumption to emerge victorious. The competition was tough, but the winner rose above the rest, winning a margin of victory previously thought unobtainable. The 2014 MyGolfSpy’s Most Wanted Mallet winner didn’t just best the competition, it annihilated them!

See you tomorrow!

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Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Top 10 Machine Putters – A Putter Ho’s Dream

Top 10 Machine Putters – A Putter Ho’s Dream

Post image for Top 10 Machine Putters – A Putter Ho’s Dream

(By Dave Wolfe)

The Machine Museum

Most of the time, my relationship with putters is one of data and performance. I can’t count how many hours I have recently spent on the putting green measuring misses for the coming soon 2014 Golf’s Most Wanted Mallet Test. Putting should be about getting the ball in the hole.

On the course, putting is all about the rattle of the cup. Off the course, the putter obsessed mind finds satisfaction in other ways. I don’t know about you, but when I am off the course, most of the time I am still thinking about golf. I love the game. I love the gear, and my obsession with putters is well documented. Actually putting with a putter is only part of the story for me. I am truly fascinated with putter looks and design.

I think that it’s the diversity of design that makes putters so interesting. We see design variation in the other clubs, but really that variation amounts to subtle tweaks and turns when compared to the scope of putter form variation. Go to your local golf shop and line the drivers all up side by side, then do the same thing with the putters. You will probably annoy the shop workers, but the vast variation in putter design that I am talking about will surely be undeniable.

A couple of years ago, I ran across a little putter shop out of Texas called MACHINE. The variation available at the MACHINE putter shop was astounding. Not only did MACHINE produce different models, they produced models that were modular. MACHINE was ahead of the adjustability wave that is now everywhere in the marketplace. I thought it was so cool that a MACHINE putter could be “adjusted” to have different necks, flanges, weights, metals, and more.

Machine M2A Converter

I was intrigued with MACHINE, and that curiosity resulted in one of my first reviews for mygolfspy. That review became such an opus that it morphed into two reviews. In Part 1, I introduced the MACHINE M2A converter, showing the different neck and flange options, including some high-production value video on how the parts fit together. Part 2 centered on how switching the components changed my iPing putting stats. I’ll summarize the results for you in saying that changing the putter components did change my putting. Earth shattering, I know.

Today’s exploration of MACHINE putters is not about data though. That’s the great thing about being a true putter lover. While we all prefer rolling balls out on the course, sometimes our flat stick cravings can be sated just by looking at, and daydreaming about amazing putters. That’s what we have from MACHINE today. No data, no graphs, just straight up putter eye candy. Be advised, the management is not responsible for any drool-related keyboard damage.

A short time ago, I sent Dave Billings, the man behind MACHINE Putters, a simple request:

Show me ten amazing putters!

Rising to the challenge, Dave and crew braved an ice storm, burned some midnight oil, and came up with ten of their best. Let’s take a look at the ten they selected.

 

#1: MACHINE “Max Peen” ART Putter- Circa 2007

MACHINE #1

This MACHINE ART Putter starts with a M1A Fixer head in 303 stainless with a 303 stainless stubby plumber neck hosel.  The bumpers have been hand ground, polished and “melted” for a smoother, softer appearance.  The hosel and shoulders have also been lightly rounded and melted.  This MACHINE ART putter features Dave Billings’ creative hand-hammered peening over most of the back and upper surfaces to break up the light and minimize glare while providing a beautiful aesthetic that contrasts with the ultra-precise milling.  Billings’ peening technique and style has been copied by just about all the boutique putter makers, including Scotty Cameron.
*In a private collection

 

#2: MACHINE M2A Converter “End Game” Prototype – Circa 2008

MACHINE #2

This MACHINE Putter is 1 of 3 End Game prototypes showing off Billings’ exploratory process of deconstructing a classic head shape and reconstructing it in a new and improved way.  By breaking down the historic and iconic Anser2-style shape, Billings was then able to add his inventive “South Beach Cut” internal milling, removing more weight from the middle of the putter to be added back in adjustable tungsten weights in the heel and toe weight ports, and deeper, MOI-enhancing and alignment-improving back flanges.  The tight arc Modular Center Shaft hosel provides a center shafted, face balanced setup with a standard hosel port.
*In a private collection

 

#3: MACHINE Damascus Steel M2A Converter with Disco Ball Hosel – Circa 2011

MACHINE #3

This MACHINE features a Custom Damascus Steel M2A Converter Head with a Damascus steel beefy back nibble back flange and a Damascus steel “Disco Ball” hand bent hosel.  The bumpers on this MACHINE have been hand melted for a smoother appearance.  This MACHINE also features a perpendicular sightline on the topline with a “Giff Cut” to aid in alignment.  This MACHINE has been finished in an acid etch, hand oil rubbed finish.
*In a private collection

 

#4: Custom MACHINE M1A Fixer “Cowboy Trophy Putter” – Circa 2012

MACHINE #4

This MACHINE features a Custom 1018 Carbon M1A Fixer Head with a 1018 carbon steel plumber neck.  The head and hosel have both been finished in our hot salts gunmetal blue finish.  This collaborative piece features hand engraving by Tim Adlam, a Master engraver who worked with Billings to make this, the ultimate trophy putter.
*In a private collection

 

#5: Custom MACHINE M1A Big Bore Prototype – Circa 2012

MACHINE #5

This putter started as a 303 stainless steel M1A Fixer and then was highly customized with four massive multi-material weights, increasing the MOI and forgiveness of the classic Anser2-style putter.   Its “dot pill cut” plumber neck hosel has been “skeletonized” to remove weight.  A soft feel enhancing marine brass logo medallion in the cavity and slightly raised sightline in the cavity are further clues to the attention to detail in this unique Billings’ creation.
*In a private collection

 

Intermission: More About Machine

MACHINE putters are the creation of industry veteran Dave Billings, president and CEO of Dogleg Right Corporation of Plano, Texas.   Dogleg Right, is celebrating it’s 20th year in 2104, and has produced numerous industry firsts, breakthroughs and pro-line putter brands and R&D work for other major brands over the years.  It all started with the HOG Putters in 1994, the first “Totally Oversized” putters in the industry, and true pioneer of the lightweight, parallel-sided oversized putter grips.

Over 150 players used HOG putters on Tour, including many of the greatest names in the game, winning millions in earnings and fans all over the planet.  The MACHINE putters were born in 2003, recently celebrating a 10-year history of their own with numerous industry firsts, successes on tour and in the marketplace, and a rich and growing portfolio of patented and patent pending technologies.  Billings and Dogleg Right are pioneers in fitting, adjustability and interchangeability, with 14 issued patents and many more patents pending in these vital and growing fields.

Designed to bring Tour-caliber customization and fitting technologies to discerning golfers, MACHINE Putters are created with state-of-the-art CNC and old-school manual milling, together with meticulous hand craftsmanship, and artful touches and finishes by Billings and his team.  MACHINE Putters are made entirely in-house in their Plano, Texas headquarters, from design, engineering, CNC milling, hand finishing and assembly.  A rapidly growing network of world-class, Top-100 fitters now carry and fit MACHINE Putters, where players can get their exact putter specifications that best meet their stroke, performance and aesthetic preferences.

Billings elaborates:

“Our patented modular designs and fitting technologies allow our putters to be fit and configured to meet virtually any golfer’s wants and needs, so you can now experience what tour players have had for years now, a putter made exactly to your own individual specifications, wants and needs.  The days of having to compromise to an off-the-rack putter are now over, as custom fitting and personalization are proven to help golfers performance, enjoyment and appreciation for the putting that only a precisely fit and finely made custom putter can provide.”

 

#6: Custom Stainless Steel Damascus M9 Converter – Circa 2013

MACHINE #6

This MACHINE features a rare, custom forged stainless steel Damascus which is then CNC precision milled into a M9 Converter head with a stainless steel Damascus No 9 flange and a stainless steel laid back gooseneck hosel.  The head, hosel and flange have all been finished in a custom hand torched finish.  The medallion on this MACHINE is custom forged Mokume Gane, milled and engraved to order.
*This MACHINE Putter is available

 

#7: Custom Damascus Steel M20 Converter – Circa 2013

MACHINE #7

This MACHINE features a custom left-handed M20 Converter with a Damascus steel beefy back flange and a Damascus steel pill cut full slant plumber neck.  The head, hosel and flange have all been finished in an acid etch finish.  The medallion on this MACHINE is a custom Damascus steel medallion with a rainbow torch finish.  This MACHINE also features a custom skull sight dot.
*In a private collection

 

#8: Custom Mosaic Damascus Steel M10 Adjuster – Circa 2012

MACHINE #8

This MACHINE features a Custom Mosaic Damascus M10 Adjuster Head with a mosaic Damascus full slant plumber neck.  The Head and Hosel have both been finished in a hand torched oil quenched finish.  The Medallion on this MACHINE is a custom engraved Damascus steel medallion.
*In a private collection

 

#9: MACHINE M8 ART #1 – Circa 2013

MACHINE #9

This MACHINE ART Putter features a custom 303 stainless M8 Converter Head with a copper plated #02 flange and a 303 stainless laid back gooseneck hosel.  This MACHINE has had every edge hand softened for a smoother more flowing look.
*In a private collection

 

#10: Custom MACHINE Megalodon Prototype – Circa 2014

MACHINE #10

This MACHINE features a custom 1018 carbon steel M4 Meritage head with a 1018 carbon Prototype #2 Megalodon flange and a shaft over stud hosel.  The head and flange have both been finished in a hand torched oil quench finish.  This Megalodon flange also features custom perpendicular sightlines to help with alignment.  The Medallion on this MACHINE is a custom titanium Damascus logo medallion.
*In a private collection

 

Design Diversity

Off the top of my head, I can’t think of another company that even comes close to the diversity of design that is available at MACHINE. These ten are truly works of art as much as they are functional golf clubs. Do these amazing, one of a kind putters come with a premium price tag? Naturally they do, but don’t worry. MACHINE also makes customizable, entry-level putters that also showcase Mr. Billings’ talent.

You can check the MACHINE site to see the likely infinite numbers of custom options that are available. Don’t fret performance either, remember that a MACHINE M1A Adjuster putter came in second in the 2013 Golf’s Most Wanted Blade Putter competition. Form and Function from MACHINE.

Machine Adjuster-2

To see what MACHINE can make for you, head to their site: doglegright.com

To follow along with the ever-expanding MACHINE Putter Picture thread in our forum click HERE

 

 

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Is the Milled Putter Going Extinct?

Is the Milled Putter Going Extinct?

Post image for Is the Milled Putter Going Extinct?

By Dave Wolfe

About a week or so ago, I put together a little piece about the first putter from the new company, Bellum Winmore, writing about how I thought that entering the milled putter market was risky. One of the byproducts of that article was that it started a discussion here at MyGolfSpy HQ about the future of milled putters in general. To put it simply (queue the ominous music),

 

Are we witnessing the decline and fall of the milled putter?

 

It’s tough to deny that we are in a period of decline. Are 100% milled putters still available? Of course they are. However, what was once a staple of putter corrals everywhere, is now becoming harder and harder to find. It we extrapolate out the trend, it’s not a huge leap to a day when the milled putter is no longer present.

Could we really see a milled-free market in the future? Maybe, but first let’s take a look at the current realities of the milled putter landscape.

OdysseyMilledBAdge

 

Evidence of Extinction

Large companies have dropped milled lines.

Take a look at the big players in the market first. I can’t begin to imagine the planning and piloting it takes for a big golf company develop and launch new gear from season to season. In my simplistic view, it seems like products that sell, persist, and those that don’t go away. Obviously, it’s more complicated than that, but no one can afford to keep throwing money into sinking product lines. Companies cut the chaff, especially in the tight times, and it’s been very tight for everyone recently.

Bottom line, milled putter lines have slowly disappeared from major product lines.

Evidence you say? OK, how about we start with the biggest golf player, TaylorMade?

Many putter aficionados (and non-aficionados for that fact) believed that that TaylorMade’s TP (what they’d now call Tour Preferred) by Kia Mia line of milled putters was one of the nicest in any big OEM lineup. They were 100% milled, insert-free, and despite the fact that Kia Ma remains on the TaylorMade payroll, are now totally absent from the TaylorMade catalog. Actually, if you check out the TaylorMade site, you will not find one milled putter.

What about Never Compromise?

Just a couple of seasons ago, Never Compromise offered the Gambler, Dinero, and Connoisseur lines of 100% milled putters. I vividly remember how cool it was that you could goof around with the paint scheme on the putters to make them more custom. Are they still for sale? I don’t know. The website is still working, and it looks like you can still order one, but good luck finding one in your local pro shop. LOTS of fanfare about these putters, and then silence. As quickly as they came, the went. It would appear that Never Compromise, and maybe Cleveland Golf, are out of the milled putter business as well.

What about the Cleveland Classic you ask? Isn’t that a milled putter by Cleveland?

Well…no…not really. The Classic series is actually cast first, and then the faces are milled. That’s what they have “FACE MILLED” stamped into their faces. I’m not saying that they are not sound putters, but they are not 100% milled. I believe the last fully milled line under the Cleveland name was the VP Milled line, and they were excellent putters. My first expensive, milled putter was a VP Milled #2, and it was a joy to roll.

Those are just two examples. I’m willing to bet that you could find a few more to add to that list. The simple fact is that companies that once offered great milled putter lines are not making them any more. Keep in mind, these guys weren’t making poor product, the market simple shifted in a  different direction. 100% milled putters are not fiscally viable (at least not for the big guys).

Smaller milled putter companies are downsizing or disappearing as well. As recently as a few years ago you could order a custom milled putter from a fairly large number of small shops.

Where did they go?

I don’t know all of the stories, but many of those shops are just are not around any more. Was the product inferior? Of course not!

The only person who asks that question is the person who has never had a custom putter made for them by a small shop. It’s a different putter experience. Small shops can add customizations to the milled head that large shops reserve for tour players. Fully milled putters, to your specs, could be obtained from dozens of small shops. Not any more.

Edel

Why Has this Happened?

Expensive for the Company

I don’t make putters for a living; I only covet them. That being said, it’s fairly obvious even to the non-putter crafter that milling putters is a more expensive undertaking. Forgings are expensive, much more so than castings. Do I know what the numbers are? No, I’m basing this assumption on the forged vs. cast iron set math. Forged, then milled irons are more expensive than cast irons. So too then should forged, then milled putters be more expensive than cast putters. If you can decrease your production costs by going with a cheaper to make product, especially if the consumer isn’t interested in the higher-end product in any significant numbers, why not go the less expensive route? Low costs coupled with more demand is a recipe for higher profits.

Expensive for the Consumer

OK get ready for some more Daveconomics™. A $300 milled putter is more expensive to buy than a $150 cast, or polymer putter. Woah…I just blew your mind, didn’t I?

Money is tight these days, and the cost vs. benefit analysis of the milled purchase suggests going high-end doesn’t make fiscal sense for the majority of golf consumers. Granted, some are still buying them . Visit the Table Rock booth at the PGA show and you’ll see an abundance of milled putters moving off the shelves for ridiculous prices, but that is the exception not the rule. If there truly was widespread demand for milled products, you’d absolutely find more players in the market.

I mentioned in the Bellum Winmore review that the putter market is especially tough because most people stick with putters for a while. That “a while” gets longer when income is less disposable. Many people who paid the premium for a milled putter a few years ago are going to stick with that one for another season or two rather than shell out another $300. If you are wearing out your putters every season like your wedges, you probably really need a putting lesson.

A putter typically doesn’t need to be replaced, unless you have emptied all of the birdies out of it.

Odyssey Insert

Milled is not Magic

This one hurts me to even consider, but could it be that inserts make for better performing putters? I don’t have tour stats memorized (and you’re a big boy, you know how to use Google), but I believe that Odyssey is still the most winning brand on the pro tours. While there are some milled offerings in the Odyssey stable, their big winner last year was the Versa line, featuring the much-loved White Hot Pro insert. Proponents of the milled putter believe that the precise machining of the head allows the craftsman to create a geometry and face that puts the best roll on the ball. It’s a nice story, but what if an insert is just better?

Titleist ran (is still running?) ProV1 ads talking about their ball being the #1 ball on tour. Why don’t they run the same ads for Cameron putters?

I am a genuine fan of Scotty Cameron putters. The milled Futura X was a true 2013 stand out. Adam Scott putted lights out with the long version of the Futura X, but the reality is that Odyssey’s inserts still won more tournaments.

Phil Mickelson, the king of club tinkerers, won The Open Championship with the Versa. Justin Rose, hardly the tour’s best putter, won the US Open with TaylorMade’s SpiderBlade. That has an insert as well.

What we are seeing in the consumer market reflects what’s happening on tour. Pros are winning with cast insert putters, and consumers are buying them in bulk. I think they call that the pyramid of influence.

SpiderBlade Face

 

Evidence of Milled Survival

Golf Marketing Cycles

For the sake of calming down my alarmism, what if what we are seeing is just a dip in the natural market cycle rather than a plunge toward milled extinction?

In all fairness, I swiped the gist of that idea from one of the comments on the MyGolfSpy Facebook page. Honesty aside, I think it raises a truism about the golf market: it’s beholden to trends . We see things get hot, and then cool off. It happens all the time. Have we seen the last square driver? I bet one will surface again at some point.

Something will be the new hot thing in the future. That thing could be a return to milling.

Small Shops are Still Making Milled Putters

I believe what we are seeing is a shrinking of the milled putter market as opposed to its demise. Smaller companies like Bettinardi, Byron Morgan, Edel, Machine, Nead, and other will continue to produce high quality, limited run milled putters for the golfers who want them. There will always be some level of milled demand. Hopefully it’s enough to keep these companies and others in business. New companies, like Bellum Winmore and Low Tide, will take their shots at the market too; perhaps carving enough out of the diminished pie to keep their dreams alive while still making their mortgage payments.

 byron face

Big Companies are Still Making Milled Putters

It may actually prove to be the big companies that keep the milled putter alive. While Odyssey does focus a great deal on their insert lines, like the Versa, their milled lines persist. The 2014 Metal X Milled line is all milled, as are is the ProType series. That’s something, but even with a significant number of new Metal X Milled models in the offering, insert Odysseys outnumber milled ones by at least two to one.

 

Futura X

Scotty Cameron Makes Milled Putters

Have you asked your screen “What about Scotty Cameron?” yet? I’m not ignoring Mr. Cameron’s creations one bit. I think that in many ways Cameron putters are both the savior and the potential nemesis of the current milled market.

Scotty Cameron is the name in milled putters for the golf masses. Why would you spend $300+ for a putter that doesn’t have Cameron’s name on it?

Calm down small putter shop lovers. I’m coming from the land of regular golf shopper. I know that a golfer can get a Byron Morgan, Bettinardi, or a Machine putter for around $300, but the average consumer doesn’t likely know those names.

Some of those guys may not even know Scotty Cameron’s name, but they know Titleist. Titleist has brilliantly marketed themselves as “the best” in the market. People like to buy “the best”, and many will pay to get “the best”.

If you like milled putters, Titleist being “the best” is a good thing. It’s a HUGE GOOD THING actually. Cameron/Titleist putter sales perpetuate the perception of 100% milled putters being the best you can buy. Knowing that 100% milled is the best will drive people to ask “Who else makes 100% milled putters?”

That simple question makes the market bigger. Titleist and Cameron putter sales will keep the milled putter market going, assuming they don’t destroy it first.

What’s the danger?

Cameron putters set the price point. I was not pleased (and you probably weren’t either) when the price of a Cameron putter jumped from $299 to $349. $349 really turns me off, and I love many of Scotty’s putters.

I can almost see an impulse $299 purchase, but at $349, I say no. I assume that operating costs at the Cameron/Titleist shop went up, and that Titleist had to pass these costs along to the consumer to maintain profit margins. Maybe $349 is still a viable price for a milled putter, but the next bump…$399, or even $449; that could be fatal.

There is a point where even the most die hard Scotty fanboy will say “that’s too expensive”. That’s not a good thing for the milled market  overall .

As I said, the milled putter will carry on in the market. Titleist and Odyssey, along with the small shops will keep them alive. However, I reserve the right to change my mind should we ever see a new line of Scotty Cameron putters featuring plastic inserts.

That, my milled loving friends, would be horseman number four.

 

Scotty Cameron

Will the Milled Putter Make it?

What do you think?

Am I way off the mark here? Is the milled putter alive and well and I’m just seeing things?

If so, what do you think the putter market will look like in 5 years? In 10 years?

The only constant in golf equipment is change. For all we know, some new technology, like 3D printing, could emerge and change the putter market completely? How can any putter, especially an expensive milled one, compete against a putter that is printed to spec right in the pro shop? Maybe I’m just being overly concerned, and seeing the sky falling, but I for one would miss the milled.

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Bellum Winmore 707 Putter – REVIEW

Bellum Winmore 707 Putter – REVIEW

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Win a Custom Bellum Winmore Putter

Check the box at the end of the article for instructions detailing how you can win your own customized Bellum Winmore putter!

 

Brass Balls

At the most recent running of the annual PGA Merchandise Show companies rolled out the products that they believe golfers will want/need in the coming season. How many products? Let’s just anger my 7th grade English teacher and use the descriptor a lot. There are new clubs, carts, rangefinders, shoes, ball markers, training aids, and a myriad of other competitors for the golf dollars. The companies making the products are as diverse as the products themselves, ranging from the huge OEM to the dude in the garage, yet they all share one common character: courage.

Reverend, you’ve got balls as big as church bells.
-Dragnet, 1987

For some reason, I always incorrectly associate that quote with Clint Eastwood’s preacher in Pale Rider. Regardless, it was the first thing that came to mind when thinking about getting involved in the golf marketplace.

Bringing a new product to market is risky. You are betting the year’s bottom line on how well the product is embraced by the buying public. For a small company, this is a life and death equation, they essentially get one shot to make an impact, or fiscally die. Even large companies though can take a significant hit if the new product flops. Google “New Coke” if you are not old enough to remember that debacle.

From My Cold, Dead Hand

Given the competitive nature of the golf market, a company must believe strongly in their product to brave the risk of entering the golf fray. Some golf products seem riskier to launch than others.  Maybe my view is askew, but I think that entering the putter business is the riskiest of all.

Why the riskiest? First, there are lots of putters out there. A trip to your local shop will yield putters of all shapes, sizes, and prices. Second, putters can be an emotional purchase. Subjective terms like looks and feel can get in the way or making the purchase based on performance. Third, and maybe most significantly, putters show a low bag turnover rate. Nobody I know is still gaming their 20-year-old driver, but I’ve seen more than one putter that has been in a bag since the 80’s. I use a new putter each time I play, but the rational golfer tends to stick with a putter longer than any other club.

Bellum Winmore-09

Bellum Winmore: Willing to Take the Risk

Enter Bellum Winmore, a small (i.e. two guys) company out of New York that has dove into the putter pool. Bellum Winmore has decided that they can bring a putter to the market that will separate them from the other competitors. Is it a different color? Nope. Does it have a unique alignment system? Nope. Unique insert polymer? Nope.

Instead of edging into the market with a unique “gimmick”, Bellum Winmore is making a putter that is 100% milled. I feel that the milled putter market is the most dangerous of all because that puts you directly up against Mr. Cameron and Mr. Bettinardi, as well as the other established small shop makers like Byron Morgan and Machine. It’s like choosing to be a heavyweight fighter when Mike Tyson was in his prime. Risky.

So today we are going to take a closer look at Bellum Winmore, and their new model 707 and see if we can’t shed a little more light on their story and their putter.

Bellum Winmore-18

Bellum Winmore: The Name & Mission

I had Tim, one of the owners of Bellum Winmore answer a couple of questions so that we could all learn a little more about them and their putter. Let’s get the obvious two out of the way first:

Tell me the meaning behind the Bellum Winmore name.

Originally the name was going to be Bellum, which is Latin for war. War on its own just seemed kind of negative with overtones of extreme personal danger. So we added a simple word smash and Bellum Winmore was born. Winning more is a concept I think we can all get next to. A tip of the hat to Charlie Sheen

What separates Bellum Winmore putters from off the rack putters? From other small-shop putters?

Bellum Winmore was formed on two immutable concepts: performance and quality. Zac and I have complimentary skill sets in manufacturing that ensure a sustained commitment to these guiding elements and a promise to consistently make our precision putters available at the lowest price possible. To our knowledge we also offer the largest selection of grip weights of any manufacturer, large or small. This gives our customers the ability to really tune their putters from a swing-weight perspective. Our emblem is pretty cool too

Bellum Winmore: The 707 Putter

Now that we have an idea about where they are coming from as a company, let’s take a look at the putter.

Bellum Winmore-12

Specifications: Bellum Winmore 707

  • Material: 100% Milled 303 Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 350g
  • Toe Hang: about 4:00
  • Length Tested: 34?
  • Finish: Satin
  • Grip:  Bellum Winmore logoed PURE Grip
  • Ball for Testing: Wilson Staff 2014 FG Tour

Looks

Bellum Winmore-08

My thoughts on the looks of the Bellum Winmore 707 are best captured with the word clean. The edges are sharp and precise, as is the milling throughout the entire head. If you are looking for handmade character, you won’t find much in the 707. Instead, you will find precision milling, with seemingly very tight tolerances.

The specific visual features that stand out to me are the neck, with it’s short over hosel rather than plumbers neck design. The between-the-bumpers valley is also a little narrower than a typical Anser-style putter, leading into a cavity-free transition from the back through the face.

Personally, as one who aims primarily by squaring the face to target, I really like the thick, flat top line of the putter. I also find the sloping geometries from the cavity to the bumpers visually pleasing. Aesthetics are, of course, subjective.  From my perspective though, the Bellum Winmore 707 is a great looking putter.

 

Feel

Bellum Winmore-07

303 Stainless Steel with a thick face equals softer than I expected. No sweet mush of carbon, but no expected crisp pop of stainless either. It’s not as crazy soft as the 304 stainless that STX uses, but the 707’s softness is worth noting.

I was actually surprised a bit when I went back to check the head weight on the 707. It feels a bit stouter than the advertised 350g. I don’t have the exact swing weight of the tested putter, but more than one tester commented on how it felt “head heavy”. Bellum Winmore has a way to address this feel/play system though: customizable grip counterweights. I’ll let them tell you the significance of these weights.

Swingweight, simply stated, seeks to quantify the golfer’s perception of a club’s headweight as it travels through space. A club’s swingweight is calculated by defining the balance point of the club based on the fulcrum point on a swingweight scale. Measurements are denoted on a graduated alpha-numeric scale ranging from A0 through F10, each letter having ten equally measured increments.

A club measuring on the low end of the swingweight scale (A0) will feel lighter than one measuring on the high end (F10). That said, two clubs having identical headweights may have distinctly different swingweights. This is because swingweight is a reflection of the weight distribution of the entire club. A club feels heavier during the swing as the balance point nears the head, and lighter as it nears the grip.

Feel in golf is never so important as it is in putting, and Bellum Winmore believes that golfers should be able to tune their putters to suit their own personal strength and stroke characteristics. That is why every Bellum Winmore Milled Putter is available with back weighting from 10g to 100g.

With putters, as in life, it’s important to find proper balance.

Adjusting the feel is part of the Bellum Winmore process. That’s a plus.

 

Alignment

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Line or no line. You have the choice. As a no-line guy, that’s a huge option. Every custom putter I have ever ordered has been line-less, which is probably why only-with-lines production putters don’t last long in my bag. Bellum Winmore gives you the option. It’s as easy as using a drop down menu on their ordering page. Can you imagine what it would take for you to get a putter from another big company without a line? Ask your buddy how much he paid for that line-less Newport 2.

As I mentioned before, I also appreciated the presence of the thick top line when it came to lining up the putt. The position of the cavity also ties in nicely for alignment. The short neck seems to get itself out of the way so you can really see the relationship between the ball and the face.

 

Accuracy

Here is the real measuring stick of the Bellum Winmore: accuracy. No putter is going to make it in the market if it misses the hole with tiresome regularity. Here is how our testers faired with the 707.

BW-707-score

I think that an 84 is a solid score from a first-time offering, from a brand new company. Our testers were a little shaky at 5’, commenting about both the lack of line and head-heavy feel. Once they had taken a few more putts, accuracy jumped dramatically. Another interesting thing was that more than one tester mentioned how nice the putter would feel with a bit more grip weight. This was unprompted by me. I didn’t mention Bellum Winmore’s weights at all. Looks like the Bellum Winmore guys really understand their product.

 

Bellum Winmore-17

Fit For Stroke

Don’t change your stroke. Change your putter.

The (FIT FOR STROKE™) concept was developed by PING, yet another genius fitting system they have developed for golfers. It works hand-in-hand with the iPING Putter App which is highly suggest everyone getting (IT’S FREE!). You might be surprised to find out that the stroke you think you have isn’t the stroke you actually have.

This addition to the MGS reviews will allow you to become a more consistent putter by matching you with models that better fit your stroke type. They will be broken down into three categories: (1) Straight – for face balance putters (2) Slight Arc – for mid toe hang putters (3) Strong Arc – for toe down putters

“Results from hundreds of player and robot tests at PING offer overwhelming scientific support for the effectiveness of fitting for stroke. In recent years more diagnostic tools and testing equipment have become available, and the results prove that a golfer’s consistency improves when their putter balance matches their stroke type. It was interesting to observe that golfers putt more consistently with stroke-appropriate models, but they also show a personal preference for these models, too. Prior to putting with them, golfers are drawn to models that fit their eye, even before they fit their stroke.” says PING.

The Bellum Winmore 707 is a: Slight Arc

 

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Ordering a Bellum Winmore

I started this article talking about risk in the golf market, from a company’s perspective. A consumer ordering a product from a new company is also a risky venture. Let’s see what Tim has to say about ordering and the future of Bellum Winmore.

What is the process for ordering a Bellum Winmore putter?

Bellumwinmore.com is a fully functional commerce website where putters can be spec’d out and purchased via credit card or Paypal. Additionally we are working toward making our putters available at select pro shops along the east and west coasts.

What can a golfer expect when he or she games a Bellum Winmore putter?

Gaming a Bellum Winmore putter means you can expect the same pleasing feel at impact from model to model. In addition, our customers can rest assured that their sightline is in line with the COG.

Can you give us a glimpse of things to come at Bellum Winmore?

We have a cache of production ready designs that we’re extremely excited about. Right now it looks like 2014 will yield three releases in addition to the 707. We have plans to increase our grip and head cover offerings as well.

 

The Bellum Winmore Secret Weapon: $229

If you are stepping into the ring with Scotty Tyson, you had better have something special. The fact that the Bellum Winmore 707 is a solid putter is an excellent start, but there are lots of excellent putters in the market. Let’s think about that line-less Newport 2 I mentioned before. How much would it cost to get one? Likely thousands, if you could even find one on the secondary tour market. At Bellum Winmore, you can get a 707 with or without a line for $229.

Now settle down. I am not saying that the 707 is the same as a Circle T NP2. I can’t make that claim, because I don’t own that Cameron. I could never afford a Circle T NP2, and that’s the point. The 707 can be customized, and had by anyone for $229. That’s a niche in the milled putter market. I can’t think of another company out there offering fully milled, customizable putters at that price. And remember, it’s a nice putter.

Bellum Winmore-10

 

It’s Still Risky for Bellum Winmore, But Looks Promising

Bellum Winmore has dove into the putter pool, and shows signs that they will be able to swim rather than sink. I applaud their bravery, and belief that they are producing a putter that will not only hold its own in the putter corral, but also blaze the trail for the new models that follow. Hopefully consumers will match their bravery, risking the $229 to order a putter that is customized to his or her preference. Honestly, the consumer gets the better risk position. I’ve played the 707 and talked to Tim at Bellum Winmore. If I wanted one of these putters, I’d PayPal that $229 with feelings of excitement and expectation, not anxiety and trepidation. In this case, the company and the consumer should both Win More.

 

Win A Bellum Winmore Putter

Do you want to win a Bellum Winmore 707 of your design? Just do the following three simple things:

Head to the Bellum Winmore website (HERE) and then leave a comment below about the Bellum Winmore  707. (Mandatory for entry)

Follow @bellumwinmore on Twitter (Bonus Entry)

One lucky winner will be chosen at random on or around February 7th. GOOD LUCK!

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Bellum Winmore Headcover-3
Bellum Winmore-16
Bellum Winmore-15
Bellum Winmore-13
Bellum Winmore-06
Bellum Winmore-05
Bellum Winmore-02

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The Best Putter Grip For YOU – Our 2013 Run Down

The Best Putter Grip For YOU – Our 2013 Run Down

Post image for The Best Putter Grip For YOU – Our 2013 Run Down

By Dave Wolfe

Are you looking for that last minute golfer gift? Are you snowed in and looking to golf gear fiddle? Do you need a small purchase that will keep you from making that big, impulsive eBay purchase? Maybe it’s time you take a look at your putter grip. You may not realize it, but 2013 was an amazing year for putter grips.

In fact, I think that 2013 could easily be called the Year of the Putter Grip. At first pass, you may think that a putter grip is a silly, and not significant enough to name a whole year after, but I bet you will see what I am talking about if you stay with me.

Think back to the golfing days of yore, like two or three years ago, and you will remember a time when your putter grip options were very limited. There were a few grips to choose from in the club repair part of your shop, but they, for the most part, all had the same shape and same boring black color. Then things started to change.

I remember when the first brightly colored Iomic putter grips came on the scene. Many, myself included, balked at their, at the time, unusually high price, but bought them anyway so we could add color, and a different feel, to our prized putters. Bright colored Iomics immediately became my go to custom putter grip option.

In 2012, we saw SuperStroke go from a small company redesigning a previously not-so-successful large grip to a huge, arguably putter grip paradigm changing beast. SuperStroke grips started showing up more and more on tour, and probably more and more at your home course as well. Jason Dufner showed us that the big grip from SuperStroke was a winner.

Then came 2013. Putter grips have gone wild this year. Established companies have expanded their offerings, while new companies expanded market presence beyond what they could have ever expected. We saw grips in new shapes, various diameters, and various lengths. We saw the traditional materials retained, but materials also expanded into the realms of high tech polymers, natural rubber, specialized leather, and even cork. Even stock grips stepped it up with brighter colors, new geometries, and different textures.

Wilson Staff V2 Grip

We have had a grip’plosion, grip’apalozza, grip’stival, grip’y birthday party, or grip-whatever.

It all comes down to the simple fact that the golfer now has more styles and colors of putter grips to choose from than ever before. This sounds great, in theory, but this much choice can be daunting too. Just think about how many different cans of soup there are at the market. So many choices can make choosing difficult. But that is why we are here today.

What I bring you today is a clearinghouse of 2013 putter grips. A 2013 Putter Grip Annual, if you will. Unlike most other mygolfspy articles, this is not a review. I have asked the companies to share with you the features of their grips that make each unique, and with that knowledge, you can find one that you want to try.

Why no data? Why no scoring of desirability? Basically, many of the aspects of putter grip selection are too subjective. For example, I love the color orange, and I try to select orange grips whenever possible. You hate orange. I like a larger grip because it seems to take my hands out of the swing. You hate the large grip because it wrecks your touch. You see where I am going here? This is why I am writing this in more of an educational vein, as opposed to a competitive one.

Learn what is out there, and try the one that sounds good to you.

Share your thoughts later, of course. I am always curious about what grip ends up on someone’s putter and why.

Additionally, I have asked the companies to respond with their ideas about what the performance issues are when playing with a worn grip, and what the golfer could expect should he or she re-grip with one of the grips.

 

The Putter Grips of 2013

Best Grips

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BestGrips2

1. What are the possible putting performance issues that come from putting with a worn grip?

Putting is all about confidence. If you don’t think you can make the putt, you won’t. An easy way to build up confidence is repetition of the same stroke. A worn out grip and most grips in general make the same stroke difficult, because the grip is always changing. If you have to re-learn the grip every time you use it, how can you expect to stroke it the same every time?

2. What are the key new features for your 2013 putter grip(s)?

The Major Leaguer is the culmination of knowledge from our decade with leather grips and the experiment in “sport” leathers (made from the same leather used by the big three major sports). What we have is our softest, most reliable leather to date. The Major Leaguer is made from the same leather used to make professional baseball gloves. It’s pre broken in and will only get better with age. In fact, the idea for the Major Leather came after finding a 15 year-old baseball glove in the garage and how well it had aged (the rubber grips it was sitting next to…, now that’s another story).

3. What should a golfer expect if he or she re-grips with your putter grip?

A grip that will enhance your natural stroke, not destroy it with the latest gimmick. Our pistol and d shapes are designed for strokes with arc and without (respectively) and handmade in the USA with the most reliable material you can make a grip out of – age defying genuine leather.

Dave’s Take on Best Grips
Best grips has made a strong showing in the past few years, both in the MyGolfSpy Forum and in the golf industry as a whole. I really like the soft and tacky feel of the Major Leaguer and I like that they make it stitches out and in. Now I just need to see one of these in purple. People play baseball with purple gloves, right?

 

Boccieri Golf

Boccieri Secret Grip2

Boccieri Secret Grip1
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What are the possible putting performance issues that come from putting with a worn grip?

Believe it or not, this is the only grip where a worn grip really doesn’t mean much. In fact I have experience with many Tour players that would never consider changing their putter grip for fear it might change the feel of their putter. Because the stroke is at such a slow velocity the worn aspect doesn’t really come into play with the traction you need to hold onto the club as it does with a swing club.

The major factors to consider when replacing your putter grip is based on the size of the grip and what feels comfortable in your hands. If you can’t place your hands comfortably, it is unlikely you will ever place in them in the same place twice, hence you will never be a consistent putter.

What are the key new features for your 2013- 2014 putter grip(s)?

The Secret Grip is the only grip in the industry that instantly counterbalances any putter. This is achieved via a tungsten weight in the butt-end, combined with a rubber compound 40-percent heavier than what is used in standard grips. The added weight raises the putter’s balance point, bringing it closer to the player’s hands to help create a more reliable and repeatable stroke. In addition, raising the total weight of the putter forces the body’s larger, more stable muscles to be used, resulting in increased stability and eliminating wrist breakdown. It features an oversized design with a traditional pistol shape and is available in either black and green or all-black options.

As I mentioned above size of the putter grip is a major factor to consider when considering a replacement. So for 2014 we have added a Jumbo version as well as a Classic version at the request of many Tour players who grew up playing the Pro only style grip. The difference is our Classic version weighs in at 100 grams and it will give the tour player the first opportunity to experience the benefits of Counter Balanced Grip Technology. We are expecting to have a large number of tour player joining the Secret Grip ranks next year.

What should a golfer expect if he or she re-grips with your putter grip?

For the past decade our company has been shouting from the mountain top about the immense benefits of counter-balancing the golf club, an idea that Jack Nicklaus benefitted from throughout his career. With our Heavy Putter lines, and most recently with the Secret Grip, we are proud to be the leaders of the counter-balance crusade within the industry. During 2013, virtually all of the major OEMs took our lead and released some type of counter-weighted putter, although most featured a much lighter and less effective weighting scheme than found in our products. What is beautiful about the Secret Grip is that you can now test this technology without having to buy an entirely new club. The Secret Grip can be installed quickly and easily on equipment from any manufacturer, so players can experience the benefits without giving up a putter they’ve grown accustomed to. We’re just taking what they already like and making it better. Anyone that tries the grip is going to see an immediate increase in control and consistency – two fundamentals necessary to play better golf.

Dave’s Take on The Secret Grip
Some may not agree, but I believe counterbalancing in the putter market will continue to expand. The secret grip is a great option for someone to try out the counterbalanced feel on his or her own putter. You buy the grip for about $25 and try it out. If you like it, great, if not, you are only out a little cash and you didn’t permanently alter your putter.

 

Golf Pride

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1. What are the possible putting performance issues that come from putting with a worn grip?

Same as swinging grips: slippage causing mis-hits and inaccuracies in shot dispersion. Also, a worn putter grip will cause the player to squeeze the grip tighter than normal. This increased tension can result in a lack of touch or feel which are crucial on fast or complex greens.

2. What are the key new features for your 2013 putter grip(s)?

The Players Wrap combines style and touch with its smart look and innovative design. The Tour Tradition’s standard size, all-rubber construction provides increased feel and responsiveness for truer putts. With the larger diameter, the Tour Classic putter keeps the wrist action to a minimum for improved putting accuracy.

3. What should a golfer expect if he or she re-grips with your putter grip?

Increased touch and feel, more solid putts struck in the middle of the putter face (a very important but often under-rated piece in putting).

Dave’s Take on Golf Pride
Golf Pride is one of the big player in the golf grip game, arguably the big player. These putter grips are classic, and likely the place where most golfers will go for re-gripping. The differing shapes are welcome, but I wish that they ventured out a bit more with the color. They have had other colors in the past. I know, I have a yellow one.

 

Iomic

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1. What are the possible putting performance issues that come from putting with a worn grip?

Feel comes first and slight twisting and moving in your hands while putting the ball with a worn grip. With Iomic putter grips you will never have this problem. Our putter grip stays tacky for as long as you own the grip.

2. What are the key new features for your 2013 putter grip(s)?

100% waterproof, Non fading material, Smooth buttery feel, and Longest lasting material

3. What should a golfer expect if he or she re-grips with your putter grip?

The smooth feeling and longevity of the putter grip.

Dave’s Take on Iomic Grips
As I mentioned before, Iomic grips have been my go to custom putter grip for a few years. Though there are more choices today than before, few others feel as good in my hands as the Iomic Jumbo. Some will really like the addition of the texture in the Absolute X line. If you are looking for color, Iomic really should be on your short list.

 

Lamkin

Lamkin

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1. What are the possible putting performance issues that come from putting with a worn grip?

The most common performance issue that comes from playing with a worn grip is the tendency to grip with too much pressure and tension.  Old, worn out grips have lost their surface tack and don’t feel as secure in a golfer’s hands.  Therefore, the player feels the need to grip harder to maintain their connection.  One of the keys to successful putting is using a relaxed, light-pressure grip.  That’s hard to accomplish with an old, slick grip.

2. What are the key new features for your 2013 putter grip(s)?

The E.B.L. Smooth Pistol is made with Lamkin’s patented 3GEN compound, which provides increased surface tack, exceptional durability and unmatched vibration dampening.

The thinner shape of the grip offers increased shot feedback and greater distance control.

A smooth surface enhances the comfortable and tacky feel of the grip.

3. What should a golfer expect if he or she re-grips with your putter grip?

Some of the world’s best putters use a traditional, smaller shaped putter grip, like the EBL Smooth Pistol.  The shape provides exceptional shot feel and control.  The smooth surface of the EBL maximizes the contact area between a golfer’s hands and their putter.  And, the tacky feel of the 3GEN material provides exceptional gripping confidence.

Dave’s Take on Lamkin Grips
These grips have the classic flat-top putter shape and a nice level of tackiness. You should see how grass stuck to them when I was shooting photos. My only gripe is again lack of color options. Lamkin has AMAZING color options in their club grips. The orange and purple are awesome! But for putters, we get red, white, blue, and black. Am I alone on this? Do you want your colors too?

 

Pure Grips

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Pure-2
Pure-3
Pure-1

1. What are the possible putting performance issues that come from putting with a worn grip?

Putting is all about feel which is often lost when your Putter grip gets old worn out and slick.

2. What are the key new features for your 2013 putter grip(s)?

What are the key new features for your 2013 putter grip(s)?  Our PURE Classic Putter grips are for Golfers that prefer a standard size grip with a soft and tacky feel.  The grip molds perfectly into your hands without any harsh or sharp edges and the tackiness gives you confidence over every putt.

Our PURE Classic Midsize Putter Grip is for golfers that prefer a slightly larger putter grip with a soft and tacky feel.  Like the PURE Classic it molds perfectly into your hands without any harsh or sharp edges and the tackiness gives you confidence over every putt.

3. What should a golfer expect if he or she re-grips with your putter grip?

What should a golfer expect if he or she re-grips with your putter grip?  Both Putter grip designs are made in the USA and carry the same 12 month Guarantee that we offer on our full swing grips.  Golfers should expect a quality Putter grip at a Fair Price.

Dave’s Take on Pure Grips
I’ve been a fan of Pure Grips for a while. Somewhere around MGS there are some reviews that I have written on their club grips. I remember when they added color to those grips, and the colors were amazing. The color on these are impressive, but like their club grips, these are fully functional as well. How nice are the Pure Grips putter grips? Nice enough that companies like Miura and Bettinardi are using them as their stock grips. That, to me, says a lot.

 

Salty Grips

Salty1

Salty4
Salty3
Salty2

1. What are the possible putting performance issues that come from putting with a worn grip?

Performance issues include loss of feel for putting, annoying “black stuff” rubbing off on your hands, and not playing your best because you’re not looking your best (your grip looks like crap and/or every other grip that’s out there).

2. What are the key new features for your 2013 putter grip(s)?  

Key features of our 2013 Salty Grips are that they’re oversized yet light, classic looking, and completely customizable.  The grips are made of natural cork and are lighter than other, similarly sized grips on the market.  Cork serves as an excellent vibration dampener and provides greater feel during the putting stroke.  Engraving of names, initials, corporate and club logos allows everyone to put a personal touch on the club they use most.  From your piece on putters – “Each one of those grips is a little billboard for the company, making golfers more aware of the brand, and awareness, leads to sales.”  We’ll also be adding a new size between our Mid-Plus and Oversize in the next month or two.

3. What should a golfer expect if he or she re-grips with your putter grip?  

When a golfer adds a Salty Grip to their putter, they can expect greater feedback on putts and more control over their stroke than they’ve previously experienced.  The grip is firm, but not slippery and has a velvety texture that can be refreshed with sandpaper.  The golfer should also expect to be approached regularly on the practice green and course.  People seem to be naturally drawn to Salty Grips and often reach out with questions or just to say they look cool.

Dave’s Take on Salty Grips
I think that I may have been one of the first people to instal a Salty grip. It was an early model that didn’t even have a hole in the butt end. That design element came later, and so has a huge degree of fine tuning. Zinger told us a lot of the Salty story a few weeks back. The cork feel is unique. You can ask Golfspy Tim about his Salty. I don’t see it leaving his putter any time soon.

 

SuperStroke

SuperStroke2

SuperStroke1
SuperStroke4
SuperStroke3
SuperStroke5

1. What are the possible putting performance issues that come from putting with a worn grip?

Worn putter grips, like any golf grip, can cause extra tension during the stroke.  This is especially evident at impact where a player will typically have issues squaring the face.

2. What are the key new features for your 2013 putter grip(s)?

Not only are our grips tacky but firm, we included a texture we refer to as “CrossTraction” technology that adds another dimension to the feel of our grips.  All of these features ensure more confidence with every stroke.

3. What should a golfer expect if he or she re-grips with your putter grip?

Our non-taper technology helps players alleviate unnecessary tension in the wrists and forearms and enhances the pendulum putting stroke.  Players choosing SuperStroke technology will make more putts, regardless of their current playing level.

Dave’s Take on SuperStroke Grips
I don’t need to tell you my take on SuperStroke grips. Their tour performance speaks for itself. The texture change in 2013 was a great addition, as was the MidSlim grip. The Flatso is a different animal all together. The top is flat and wide and will impact your stroke. My only wish for the next incarnation of the grips is that they flip the white and the colored sections. I’d like more color to go with the Super-ness.

 

UST Mamiya

UST Mamaiya2

UST Mamaiya4
UST Mamaiya1
UST Mamaiya3

1. What are the possible putting performance issues that come from putting with a worn grip?

  • Lack of feel and feedback
  • A good putter grip that has tack to it which will allow less grip pressure and that is ideal when you are putting

2. What are the key new features for your 2013 putter grip(s)?

  • Very soft and tacky which improves feel and allows for the proper release of the putter head
  • Embossed pattern providing traction in strategic areas and enhanced control
  • Offered in four sizes (standard, midsize, jumbo and super jumbo)

3. What should a golfer expect if he or she re-grips with your putter grip?

  • Better feel and feedback
  • Less grip pressure allows for the proper release of the putter

Dave’s Take on UST Mamiya Putter Grips
UST Mamiya is a bit of a dark horse in this round-up. They are well known as a shaft company, but the grips are new. Their putter grips are simple in color, just black or white, and basically all made with the same texture pattern. Shapes are very different though. There is a nice size progression from standard to super jumbo, and we are talking super jumbo. The super jumbo grip is in the SuperStroke Fatso diameter category. It may even be a little larger. It still feels light though, 82g for a grip of that size is not too stout. Now let’s talk about some colors and adding one to a FST putter shaft…

 

That’s A Dragon’s Horde of Putter Grips!

I’m not sure if compiling all of these grips in one place has made selecting a new grip easier or more difficult. Do you go with the natural leather Best Grip, or the natural cork Salty? Maybe you are drawn to the vivid colors of Pure Grips and Iomic. Why not go large with Super Stroke, or jumbo with UST Mamiya? Your options are many, and swapping out a grip is a whole lot cheaper than swapping out a putter.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Axis1 Joey Putter – Review

Axis1 Joey Putter – Review

Post image for Axis1 Joey Putter – Review

By Dave Wolfe

That’s Different. . .

This is the time of year in the golf industry when the skeptics and the idealists begin their annual battle of opinions. Some golfers really look to the innovations announced by the golf companies with optimism, anticipating that the new tech will lead to lower scores next season.

Others are skeptical of the golf companies claims. It’s almost like they feel that the golf companies have covert agendas that involve seducing golfers into buying products that they don’t really need by inflating their claims, lying outright, or just plain tricking you into giving them your money.

Be careful of that negative thinking, you may end up with an interesting new haircut.

I’m a golf gear optimist. I always get excited when new gear rolls out. Drivers, irons, or putters, it doesn’t matter. I look at each new club with the thought of maybe that one will help me play better. In spite of this, if you look in my golf bag, you will see clubs that are not recent releases. My driver is two seasons old, my irons are circa 2011, and my fairway released in 2008! I look forward to the new gear and designs, but newness alone doesn’t guarantee a spot in the bag.

However, there is no denying the spike in curiosity that comes for many of us when we see new club designs. Assuming, of course, that the designs are really something new. With putters, skeptics are often totally justified in saying “That’s just another ________!”. Feel free to insert anser, zebra, zing, 8802, or whatever model you wish into that blank. Designs that work tend to persist, and to be produced by various companies with minor tweaks to make them original.

Sometimes though, you get putters that are outside the design box. Axis1 putters fall into that category. They are making putters that are truly unique to their brand, with designs and features that could be easily called uncommon in the golf gear market.

The Axis1 Joey that we are looking at today is the latest incarnation of a putter design that Axis1 first produced in 2006. Mygolfspy took a look at their design concept back in 2009, labeling the Axis1 the Most Innovative Putter Design for 2009. That article predates my association with MyGolfSpy, and maybe yours as well, so before we get to the specifics of the Axis1 Joey, let’s look at what Axis1 putters are all about.

Axis1 Joey-11

 

Perfect Balance

Axis1 offers the first 100% perfectly balanced putters in the game. Because Axis1 putters are perfectly balanced, they don’t naturally open-up, resulting in more on-line putts and lower scores. We accomplished this special feat by pushing the weight forward with a patented heel counterweight that, for the very first time, places the center of gravity right on the center of the striking face and perfectly aligned with the axis of the shaft.
-Axis1

So what is perfect balance all about? With the Axis1 Joey, you have a putter that, like the other Axis1 models, is designed to stay balanced during the stroke. That means no twisting, or opening and closing if that makes more sense. Most other putters will open and close during your putting stroke, the degree of which depends upon features like toe hang, weighting, neck style, and so on. The addition of bulk to the heel of the Axis1 Joey, along with the small counterweight at the toe, allows the putter to set up totally balanced at address, and to remain balanced as you swing it, assuming you don’t try to add some twist to the equation. More on that later…

Axis1 Joey-03

Specifications: Axis1 Joey

  • Length 33”, 34”, 35”
  • Head Material: 17-4PH Stainless Steel
  • Offset: None, aligns with face
  • Grip: Custom Winn
  • Toe Hang: 12:00 (toe up)
  • Shaft: Stainless steel with vibration dampening core.

Looks

Axis1 Joey-06

The Axis1 Joey has issues in the looks department. That may sound harsh, but that’s not my intention. The issue is that the Joey just looks so different from anything else out there, with the exception of the other Axis1 putters. I score the looks as great and poor because people either seem to love, or hate the looks. There is no middle ground on this one. In terms of machining and manufacturing, the quality looks are spot on. Precision craftsmanship shows. The finish is bright, yet not glaring in the sun. It has many of the qualities that we all associate with good looking putters.

It’s the geometry that polarizes people. The Axis1 heel counterweight design that achieves the balance in the putter is the part of the putter that some folk just can’t overlook. It’s big and definitely present at address. Some found it distracting, to the point where they just couldn’t get past that visual element when rolling putts. For others, the visual impact lessened with play.

LOOKS

Feel

Axis1 Joey-10

I didn’t really know what to expect with the Joey in terms of feel. After sessions with it, I would classify it as soft stainless feeling. It’s not crisp like many stainless putters, and it’s definitely not carbon steel soft. Smack dab in the middle of the hardness scale for this one.

The Axis1 Joey does have a very interesting feel component in terms of impact feedback. More so than other putters in recent memory, the Joey really lets you know if you have hit the center of the face. It’s not a click, but maybe that’s the best way to describe the on-center feedback. Maybe it is more of a click, combined with a ring, combined with a aluminum baseball bat hitting a wading pool of gelatin. I know that is a mess of imagery, but hitting the Joey’s sweet spot gives you a quick tactile and auditory retort, while feeling softer than impact on any other part of the face does.

FEEL-1-1

Alignment

Axis1 Joey-05

First, let’s look at the actual alignment aids. I like that Axis1 has both a topline and a cavity alignment graphic on the Joey. The presence of these elements are critical since the altered lines of the Joey’s head are different from your usual heel-toe weighted blade. Personally, one of my tried and true alignment techniques for Anser-style heads is lining up the edges of the cavity with the target line. With the Joey, this works on the toe end, but the little nub toward the heel end is just not the same visually as a full-sized heel bumper.

Once again though, at address, we must address the impact of the Joey’s atypical head architecture. If you hold your hand over the above photo, covering the heel portion of the putter, the Joey looks like any other heel/toe weighted blade, perhaps having a thinner profile than usual. Now cover up the toe end. You really can’t say like any other with that heel section. It is visually very different, and as we know, distracting visual elements at address will effect alignment and ultimately accuracy.

For some of our testers, the alignment T was bold enough that they could overlook the heel geometry. For others, that predominant heel was too much visually to feel confident in aiming the Joey.

ALIGNMENT-1-1

Performance

Axis1 Joey-09

Atypical looks aside, what it really comes down to is how well the putter gets that ball to the hole. Love of appearance can quickly turn to hate if your coveted new flatstick can’t find cup. As we all know, looks are subjective anyway, varying greatly from person to person. As always, MyGolfSpy doesn’t base our putter performance scores on opinions. We base it upon data. Here is how the Axis1 Joey scored:

 

axis-1-joey-score

A score of 76 places the Axis1 Joey right with the bulk of the putters that we tested this year in the 2013 MyGolfSpy Most Wanted Blade Test. It scored better that some, worse than others. It would seem that the unique torque balance nature of the Joey was not enough to separate it from the other putter peers.

Part of the reason for this likely comes from the simple fact that the Joey looks different, and plays different than other putters in the golf marketplace. It’s not a huge jump for a tester to go from an Anser to a Newport, but an Anser to the Joey is a big jump. There are a couple of specific features that I think explain the lower than expected score.

Counterweighted Heel Geometry

The weighting is strange. I feel like I have to hit it on the toe.
-Anonymous Putter Tester

I have mentioned this heel bulge more than once in this article. I’m willing to bet that it jumped out at you in some of the photos as well. Did you notice it? Our testers sure did. To have this piece of metal extending in front of the face was unnerving for some. One of our guys kept commenting that he thought he was going to hit it each time he putted. That kind of mental discord is not going to produce solid numbers. I played quite a few rounds with the Joey, and I can attest that like with the Futura X, the initially obtrusive geometry fades from consciousness with familiarity. Testers don’t have that luxury of exposure.

Torque Balance and Shaft Alignment

Again, one of the fundamental features of the Joey could be responsible for its scoring issues. Think of it this way, how many of you have rolled a zero offset, torque balanced putter? It’s different. I know that I keep saying that, but it is. Your putter has some built in rotation in its design. If you have played with it for a considerable period of time, that rotation has become part of your putting. Take that familiar putter rotation away, or worse, try to force rotation on a non-rotating putter, and things will go wrong in a hurry.

I can only share my experiences with you, but as soon as I really focused upon not manipulating the Joey’s face angle during the stroke, accuracy jumped by a large margin. On my practice green in my garage, 9′ putts quickly went from miss most to make most.

Overall, I think that anyone’s accuracy with the Joey will improve with familiarity. What could be an issue for Axis1 sales though is that it may take more than a casual couple of putts in a shop’s putter corral for this improvement to happen. My gut says that there is real significance to the Axis1 design, but that the average golfer will need a bit of education to use one effectively. Hopefully shop pros are clued into what Axis1 putters are all about and can help educate their customers.

Axis 1 Joey hang

So Would I Rate The Axis1 Joey as “Play” or “Pass”

Axis1 Joey-08

In the spirit of total honesty, my initial take on the Axis1 Joey was pass. Now I lean much more toward play. What changed my mind on this putter was specifically how it plays. I am still not a fan of the looks of the Joey, but I don’t think that anyone is buying this putter to hang it on the wall for viewing pleasure. Once I really spent some time putting with the Joey, and tuned into what the design is all about, my precision and enjoyment putting with the Joey went up significantly.

I would relate the experience to the similar one that I had when I first rolled SeeMore putters. Being unfamiliar with the intended mechanics of the SeeMore RST and overall SeeMore putting style, I putted terribly with their putters. Once I learned the SeeMore style, the SeeMore putter became a whole different tool.

That’s what I feel will happen with the Joey for most people. You probably won’t grab this putter and immediately start sinking everything. However, if you head to the Axis1 site, and research what the putter is all about, then I would expect that your putting with the Joey, or with the other Axis1 models will improve past your un-Axis1-educated attempts. Regardless, these are worth a roll.

 

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